President Barack Obama has ordered 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan, but pledged he would begin to withdraw the military by 2011. The new deployment over six months will bring US troop strength in the country to more than 100,000. (Shortly after taking office, Obama doubled US troop levels in the country from 30,000 to 60,000.) Some 32,000 other foreign troops are serving in Afghanistan. In his Dec. 1 speech at the West Point military academy, Obama said any comparison with Vietnam was based on “a false reading of history.” (BBC News, AlJazeera, Dec. 1)
Opposition Afghan member of parliament Malalai Joya has a piece in The Guardian Nov. 30 (online at RAWA News), “A troop surge can only magnify the crime against Afghanistan,” warning in her subtitle, “If Barack Obama heralds an escalation of the war, he will betray his own message of hope and deepen my people’s pain.”
After months of waiting, President Obama is about to announce the new US strategy for Afghanistan. His speech may be long awaited, but few are expecting any surprise: it seems clear he will herald a major escalation of the war. In doing so he will be making something worse than a mistake. It is a continuation of a war crime against the suffering people of my country.
I have said before that by installing warlords and drug traffickers in power in Kabul, the US and Nato have pushed us from the frying pan to the fire. Now Obama is pouring fuel on these flames, and this week’s announcement of upwards of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan will have tragic consequences.
Already this year we have seen the impact of an increase in troops occupying Afghanistan: more violence, and more civilian deaths. My people, the poor of Afghanistan who have known only war and the domination of fundamentalism, are today squashed between two enemies: the US/Nato occupation forces on one hand and warlords and the Taliban on the other.
While we want the withdrawal of one enemy, we don’t believe it is a matter of choosing between two evils. There is an alternative: the democratic-minded parties and intellectuals are our hope for the future of Afghanistan.
See our last post on Afghanistan.