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Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, many in the US initially supported the war in Afghanistan because they believed that it would reduce the threat of another attack on US soil, and that it would enable the US to bring to justice Osama bin Laden and others responsible for the attacks. Once the Taliban fell, the war was touted as a success. However, while public attention shifted to the war in Iraq, the conflict in Afghanistan entered a new phase of violence and decay.
Concerns about the increased violence and lack of stability in Afghanistan have led many – including President-elect Obama – to call for an increased presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. However, the idea that more US troops are the answer to Afghanistan’s woes is misguided. Rather than a military escalation, what is needed is a shift away from militarism, toward diplomacy, aid and reconstruction.
Today, as calls grow louder for the US military to send more troops to Afghanistan, it is up to the US peace movement to address the realities and counter the misconceptions surrounding the war and occupation. We must educate our own communities about the true consequences of US foreign policy in Afghanistan, connect with Afghan peacemakers and grassroots movements that are calling for alternatives to military action, and devise strategies for joining together to build a lasting peace.
This primer outlines ten reasons the US should end the occupation in Afghanistan. We call instead for a drastically revamped US policy focused on diplomacy, negotiation, aid, reconstruction and international cooperation. We hope that this information will help our colleagues in the US peace movement unite to call for a new strategy in Afghanistan.