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Letters—As an Afghan, I rejoice at the end of Western occupation

This article is over 2 years, 7 months old
Issue 2769
Soldiers in Afghanistan in 2001
Soldiers in Afghanistan in 2001

Being an elderly Afghan, I have despaired about the two grim decades of the British invasion.

The cruel British occupiers, fond of their flash weaponry, would shoot up villages.

They ceaselessly killed refugees with their high tech attack helicopters.

Their robotic drones were merciless things of fear that assailed women and children above all.

The British propaganda trumpeted a “humanitarian intervention”.

The reality was massacre after massacre of the poorest people on Earth.

Terrified Afghans quaked in caves and mud huts as the British went on the rampage.

Socialist Worker seems to have been just and appropriate about the viciousness of the British army—whereas most of the media was crudely belligerent and jingoistic on behalf of that vile rag of blood, the Union Jack.

The British imperialists came to Afghanistan as smirking bullies.

They are now abandoning it as pathetic cowards.

Zekria Ibrahimi

West London

Thank you for the article about the parliamentary debate on Afghanistan (Socialist Worker online, 18 August).

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s right wing attacks on Joe Biden’s “betrayal” were extraordinary.

I was also struck by the failure to engage with the issue of whether the war had been justified in the first place.

Jeremy Corbyn made some good points about the need to welcome all refugees.

But the name Tony Blair, architect of the “war on terror” alongside George Bush did not escape his lips. Nor was there any criticism of Starmer.

At the end he called for a “sober reflection on the disaster that has happened in Afghanistan”. Maybe, but actually it’s time for anger, rage and bitterness at what the Labour Party did.

Only Zarah Sulatana made a speech that reflected some of this.

Labour is finished.

Alison Buchanan


A mood for LGBT+ liberation

The recent Reclaim pride events in London and Manchester have shown that there is a larger section of LGBT+ people looking for radical solutions to oppression.

They want something different to mere tolerance and acceptance. They want liberation.

This shift comes after protests from Black Lives Matter (BLM) to Extinction Rebellion which politicised a largely, but not exclusively, new layer of younger people.

They are anti-capitalist and want to put the system under the microscope.

On a BLM protest last year people held signs saying “Black Trans Lives Matter”. This shows LGBT+ politics is moving up the political agenda.

The other factor is the rotten Tory government’s failure to reform the Gender Recognition Act and ban conversion therapy.

The former has been the subject of the toxic culture war. This has contributed to militant protests for trans rights such as the 10,000-strong London Trans Pride.

Even liberal events such as a vigil by Northern Pride had speakers attacking the government’s record and they were well received.

These changes go back to the heart of the early LGBT+ movements of Harry Hay and the homophile movement and later Stonewall.

They are starting to bring together LGBT+ people in a political way. We need more of this.

Nathan Johnston


Neither Labour nor Green politics deliver

We can’t rely on politicians like Keir Starmer to solve the climate crisis.

He won’t even back the Green New Deal that was Labour’s key policy on the climate crisis under Corbyn.

The world’s political leaders, of every stripe have failed to stop climate change.

The science on climate change was settled 30 years ago with the establishment of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Had they acted then, gradualist policies might have worked. We might have avoided some of the worst of the extreme weather events now affecting every part of the globe.

It’s too late for gradual reform of the carbon economy. We need immediate and radical action now to cut carbon emissions.

This is something neither Labour nor Green politicians can deliver. Only system change delivered by mass action from below can now avert a total climate breakdown.

John Sinha

North London

Only a fight will win real pay rises

There is much talk that British workers will benefit from pay rises following labour shortages

But bosses never hand out anything without a struggle.

A recent report found that fewer than a quarter of British companies struggling to hire staff after the easing of pandemic restrictions plan to increase the wages they offer to new recruits.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) labour market outlook survey said that employers’ pay intentions were no higher than pre-pandemic levels.

It showed the average employer’s expectation of basic pay settlements remained at the 2 percent reached last quarter, after four consecutive quarters at 1 percent. The report found that 81 percent of employers planned a pay review between now and June 2022.

Among this group, some 33 percent expected a pay increase, 12 percent a freeze and 1 percent a decrease.

Around a third said it was “hard to tell” and 17 percent that they did not know.

Wage rises, real wage rises above inflation, won’t fall from the sky.

They have to be extracted from ruthless companies by struggle.

Holly Graham

East London

Stand with NHS workers

Health workers face a difficult time.

They saved my life 27 years ago and they are there for us 24/7.

But it’s hard for them to take industrial action. So I say to the trade union movement it must wake up to save the NHS.

Don’t let this Tory scum government privatise any more of our NHS.

And don’t wait for Keir Starmer and his Tory-lite party.

Organise days of action now to save our NHS.

Mike Archer


Rabb should be driven out

Whatever your views on the roots of the Afghanistan debacle, it’s clear the Tories have been criminally useless.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab was too busy on his sun lounger to make vital phone calls that could have evacuated more people.

Surely he—and I hope Boris Johnson—should go.

It happened in 1956 over Suez when Anthony Eden was forced out as prime minister, and this is just as big a humiliation.

It will be a boost to everyone if history repeats itself.

Bob Summerby


Labour must apologise

Keir Starmer needs to understand it was Tony Blair and the Labour government which invaded Afghanistan.

He needs to apologise for his party!

Zulf Ali

On Facebook

Real terror is from West

The US and Britain have been the greatest terrorists and cause of terror in the entire history of mankind.

Keir Starmer needs to be silent and quietly throw himself into a bottomless pit

Then perhaps we can get on with creating a party which offers something different from the crime syndicate currently in power.

James Marshall

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