Stop the Afghan slaughter – withdraw troops now

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TODAY the British ruling class is in mourning for the 100 British soldiers that they have sent to their deaths in Afghanistan, no mind the thousands that have been wounded.

Forgotten are the over 10,000 Afghans that have been killed in the fighting bravely defending their country from the imperialist attacks, and the thousands of men, women and children that have been bombed and shelled to death in their homes by US and UK bombs and artillery shells.

Also forgotten are the arrogant and outlandish predictions that proceeded the sending of thousands of British troops to Afghanistan, mainly peddled by military spokesmen and the then Defence Secretary John Reid. This was that the situation was so under control that the troops would serve a whole tour of duty without firing a shot.

In fact the troops were treated as occupiers and were fought to a standstill, only surviving by dint of the massive firepower that they could summon up, and the local non-aggression pacts that they made with the Taleban.

Now after several million shots have been fired the British military are trying to douse the fires of the anti-war movement at home by seeking to pretend that the British troops are on the brink of victory and are in fact beating the Taleban, when everybody knows that they are sinking deeper and deeper into the mire of a very unpopular imperialist war.

The Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, yesterday said he reflected on the most recent deaths with ‘both a sense of deep sadness and pride’, saying the military effort was starting to achieve real change.

He added: ‘I only hope that the terrible hardship that they have been asked to bear can be eased by the certainty that in Afghanistan our forces are engaged in a most worthy and noble endeavour.’

Even Defence Secretary Browne has not been able to go along with this Walter Mitty view of the campaign.

Yesterday Browne said that he broadly agreed with the assessment of the director of the Royal United Services Institute, Professor Michael Clarke, about the current situation in the country.

The professor told the Today programme that the military had done the best they could do under the circumstances, which was to establish a ‘stalemate’ with the Taleban. A stalemate is not a victory.

He went on to say: ‘The soldiers are paying with their lives and their wounds to buy time for the political and the developmental process to take place. The problem is it hasn’t taken place nearly fast enough.’

This is what the military and political leaders have been trying to cover up, that the soldiers are just buying time with their lives, but for what? The probability is that one of the points that the US intends to attack Iran from is Afghanistan.

Professor Clarke added the point at which NATO troops could ‘declare victory and leave’ would be when they could genuinely say that whatever happened next was in the hands of the Afghan people, that ‘we gave them every opportunity’.

‘That point is probably quite some years away,’ he added.

Some have predicted that this time is between 30 and 100 years away, i.e. never.

Defence Minister Browne chimed in that the insurgency could not be won by military means alone, and that governance, economic development and a ‘battle for the people’ were equally important.

In fact, what is heroic and noble about the war is the determination of the Afghan people to drive the invaders out of their country no matter how many lives are lost in the process.

The Taleban now rules far more of Afghanistan than it did before the massive British reinforcement.

The solution to the war is in the hands of the British workers. They must stop the slaughter by forcing the withdrawal of all British troops, to allow the Afghan people to bring in the government of their choice.