Get British troops out of Afghanistan now!

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PRIME Minister Gordon Brown and Defence Secretary Des Browne yesterday sent their condolences to the families of four more British troops killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday. This takes the total number of British forces killed, since NATO took over the occupation of the country in 2001, to 106.

Brown told Parliament: ‘Our troops are second to none, the best in the world. They are on the noblest of missions, they are fighting for freedom for Afghans in their own country and for the world in protecting us from terrorism.’

The Defence Secretary also announced a new offensive by British and NATO forces in Arghandab district near the southern city of Kandahar, where a force of 300-400 Taleban insurgents have taken control of at least eight villages.

Browne spoke about the new Kandahar operation while attending a memorial service and march by troops through Edinburgh for all those NATO troops killed in Afghanistan.

A few days ago he announced there would be more cannon fodder for the war with 230 more troops. However, yesterday he bemoaned the fact that the Taleban were not fighting like a regular army, but as insurgents!

While engaging in the usual rhetoric about the so-called ‘war on terror’ and draping themselves in the ‘Butcher’s Apron’, the Union Jack, both the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary declared that British and NATO troops would step up ‘the most difficult missions in the most dangerous of countries’ (Brown).

Flying in the face of the facts, Browne even claimed: ‘The Taleban are losing in Afghanistan. I know it may not appear like that at the moment, but we are enjoying a degree of success.’

He was silent about 350 Taleban political prisoners being freed in Kandahar at the weekend and avoided the fact that nine British soldiers have been killed in the past 10 days.

The Taleban now control large parts of the countryside in southern Afghanistan, are defeating the NATO forces and are winning!

Earlier this week, former military chief General Sir Mike Jackson spelt out the task of British imperialism’s armed forces in Afghanistan when he said that a NATO army of 100,000 could make the occupation work, if it matched its opponent’s ‘strategic endurance’ and behaved as the British Army had in Ireland.

Brown, Browne and Jackson are spokesmen for British imperialism, which is playing second fiddle to United States imperialism today, but is just as murderous as it was in the heyday of the British Empire.

The British capitalist class tops the league of the militarist merchants of death. The UK’s Defence and Security Organisation published figures on Tuesday revealing that Britain is the largest exporter of weapons of mass destruction in the world, outstripping the US in 2007 by getting £10bn of new orders.

The Taleban are Afghans, they have nowhere else to go and are following in the footsteps of their ancestors who fought and defeated the British Army in the Afghan wars of 1839-42 and 1879-1882.

The NATO forces are imperialist invaders attempting to occupy Afghanistan in their interests, to have bases in the oil-rich, strategically-important Middle East, and threaten Iran, the Arab countries and Russia.

The Taleban insurgents are fighting to send these foreign invaders packing. It is in the interests of the British and American working classes to support them in this struggle, because Bush and Brown are making workers pay for their imperialist wars.

Billions of pounds are being thrown into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while stringent budget controls and cuts are imposed on essential public services, like the NHS, education and local council services, which are also being decimated by privatisation.

Workers must insist that their unions support the insurgents fighting to liberate their countries from imperialist occupation by demanding the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. This issue must be put on the agenda of every union conference.

The government is determined to continue its wars against the Afghan and Iraqi peoples. This means the trade unions must use every means necessary, including mass strike action, to bring down the imperialist Brown regime and go forward to a workers’ government that will quit NATO and withdraw all British troops from overseas.