Socialist Worker

Documents reveal horror of Afghan war but the slaughter and lies go on

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2212

The leak of over 90,000 US military documents has revealed the horror of the war in Afghanistan.

The papers give the lie to the claim that US-led forces are bringing peace and democracy to the country.

They reveal that between 2004 and the end of 2009, US and British airstrikes and shootings killed hundreds of civilians.

Some refer to the secret US unit Task Force 373, which is supposedly attempting to “kill or capture” only Taliban leaders.

They show that the force killed 369 men, women and children during its operations. One incident saw seven children killed.

The true figures are undoubtedly even higher than these.

George Bush launched his “war on terror” nine years ago. It has only led to death and desolation for the Afghan people.

Barack Obama and his supporters claim that things have changed since he became US president last year. But this is a cruel lie. The slaughter in Afghanistan is getting worse, not better.

Opposition to the war is increasing. Joe Glenton, a British soldier who refused to fight in Afghanistan, spoke at a packed anti-war meeting in central London on Monday.

“There is a central line of hypocrisy that runs through the army,” he said.

“I’ve learnt that the real enemy is not the man in front of you you’re pointing your rifle at, but the men directly behind you and above you telling you to pull the trigger.”

Nato forces killed around 45 civilians in the Sangin district of Helmand province on Friday of last week. This is just one of the many massacres committed by Western forces in the 18 months since Obama took power.

These things aren’t aberrations. The war and occupation has never been about liberating the Afghan people, but increasing US power.

The brutal nature of the occupation comes from the top.

Pressure has forced Obama and David Cameron to say that a gradual withdrawal may be necessary to end the occupation. But this will only prolong the agony.

The only way there will be peace and justice in Afghanistan is if the troops are pulled out now and the Afghan people are left free to run their own society.

Joe Glenton said, “Times change but the lies are still the same. I consider it a badge of honor to have resisted and to continue to resist.

“We can bring the politicians to heel—the wheels have fallen off the pro-war bandwagon.

“If you want to support the soldiers, then bring them back. If you want to help Afghanistan, then liberate it from Britain and the US.”

For more see Deceit and disaster in Afghanistan

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Article information

Tue 27 Jul 2010, 17:54 BST
Issue No. 2212
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