[Marxism] CPUSA backs imperialist war in Afghanistan

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 11 11:29:24 MDT 2009


(If you can manage to read to the conclusion of this sorry article, you 
will understand why the antiwar movement is in such bad shape in the 
U.S. These idiots control one of the two major coalitions, the UFPJ.)

People's Weekly World Newspaper, 04/07/09 12:31
Slash Afghan casualties, boost civilian aid, aid agencies say
Author: Marilyn Bechtel

President Barack Obama came away from NATO’s 60th anniversary summit in 
Strasbourg, France earlier this month with commitments from several 
European NATO members to send a total of 5,000 more troops to 
Afghanistan. The new European forces will have a limited mission, with 
some providing added security around Afghanistan’s presidential election 
slated for August, and others training the Afghan army and police.

The president said late last month the U.S. will send 21,000 additional 
troops to Afghanistan, 4,000 of them explicitly assigned to a training 
role. They will join some 38,000 U.S. and 35,000 NATO soldiers already 
stationed there.

But in an unprecedented action, 11 international aid agencies issued a 
joint report just days before the NATO summit, urging U.S. and NATO 
forces in Afghanistan to take far-reaching steps to cut down on the 
soaring casualties among civilians.

The report, “Caught in the Conflict,” focuses specifically on military 
and security issues as they affect Afghan civilians and does not take up 
broader issues in the conflict. Made public April 3, it is signed by 
Oxfam International, Save the Children UK, CARE Afghanistan, the 
Interchurch Organization for Economic Development and seven other 
organizations.

“In 2008 security conditions in Afghanistan reached their worst levels 
since 2001 and the total number of insurgent attacks was 50 percent 
higher than in 2007,” the report states. “The conflict has intensified 
and spread from the south and southeast, to areas which had been 
relatively stable, including provinces close to Kabul and in the north 
and west of the country. Civilians have been increasingly caught up in 
the conflict.”

Civilian casualties caused by all parties in the armed conflict totaled 
some 2,100 last year ― 30 percent more than 2007, the agencies said. 
Over half were caused by anti-government insurgents, but casualties 
caused by pro-government forces rose by a similar percentage, to a total 
of 828, which the report said “is generating widespread resentment and 
undermining support for the wider international peace presence in 
Afghanistan.”

Air strikes pose a particular problem, the agencies said, with deaths 
soaring to 552 last year, up from 116 in 2006 and 321 in 2007. 
“Civilians have also suffered abuses during raids, especially those 
conducted at night, by pro-government forces, almost always by or with 
international military forces,” the report said. “A significant number 
of such raids have involved an excessive use of force, including loss of 
life, physical assault, damage to property and theft” as well as 
“aggressive and improper treatment of women.”

The agencies called for “all feasible measures to distinguish between 
civilians and combatants in all attacks,” and a major tightening of 
rules covering air attacks and night raids. They also addressed reports 
of prolonged detentions without trial, and torture and ill-treatment of 
prisoners, urging that detainees be assured their rights under 
international law, and greater access to human rights monitors.

The report pointed out that the conflict has seriously disrupted access 
to health, education and other social services, with hundreds of attacks 
and threats against schools that killed and injured dozens of children 
and forced schools to close. Attacks on health workers and clinics 
forced many to close and left hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians 
without health care services.

“It is likely that planned increases in troops and military operations 
during 2009 will lead to higher levels of displacement, further 
restrictions to social services, and greater impediments on the ability 
of aid agencies to reach civilians in need of protection and assistance.”

The agencies also highlighted the problems presented by military units 
like the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and others performing relief 
activities, a role they said should instead be increasingly undertaken 
by the United Nations and by strengthened Afghan government programs.

They also warned of efforts including the Afghan Social Outreach Program 
and the Afghan Public Protection Force that seek to gather information 
on insurgent activities or to build local policing or counterinsurgency 
functions, which they said are apt to be targeted and/or taken over by 
insurgents, warlords or criminal elements.

“There is now wide agreement among policy-makers and politicians that 
military solutions alone cannot bring peace and stability to 
Afghanistan,” and any new strategy must include a major expansion of 
support for rural development along with greater international response 
to the plight of 8 million Afghans who are “food insecure” the report 
concluded. “In order to succeed, a comprehensive strategy urgently 
requires a substantial, coordinated and long-term international 
commitment both in terms of resources and political will.”




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