MADRE Statements

War on Afghanistan: Eight Years Too Long

Posted on: Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Keywords: Afghanistan, Peace Building, US Foreign Policy

On October 7, 2001, the US began a military campaign that, to this day, continues to destroy civilian lives in Afghanistan.  In the days before the bombs fell, MADRE spoke out against the impending so-called “war on terror” and warned:

“What’s needed now is justice, not vengeance.  And killing more civilians will not bring justice – or an end to terrorism.  Ultimately, the only way to end terrorism is to end the poverty and despair that give rise to fanaticism.” (A MADRE Open Letter in Response to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks, October 2, 2001)

We have been told that the war is necessary to prevent al-Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a staging ground to launch renewed attacks on the US.  Yet, General David Petraeus himself acknowledges that al-Qaeda is no longer in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace finds that, “The mere presence of foreign soldiers fighting a war in Afghanistan is probably the single most important factor in the resurgence of the Taliban.”

We have been told that the war is necessary to defend Afghan women.  Yet, Afghan women know that their rights cannot be secured at gunpoint.  In fact, the US military is further endangering Afghan women by turning their communities into war zones.  Women are disproportionately threatened by the US/NATO airstrikes and house raids that have turned so many Afghans against the US.  Meanwhile, the war worsens conditions of poverty and insecurity that prevent the formation of democratic public spaces that women need to successfully assert their rights.

The problems that confront Afghanistan, including deep poverty, an epidemic of violence against women and political corruption are largely the results of decades of armed conflict.  They will not be resolved by more warfare. It is time for the US to rethink Afghanistan.

After thousands of civilian deaths and countless communities destroyed, the US must recognize that continued military occupation does not protect US national security and only worsens conditions for Afghan people.

Tell your Congressional representative that eight years is enough: tell him or her to watch the film Rethink Afghanistan, an unflinching look at the weak premises for the war and the toll it is taking on Afghan women and families.




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Kat Noel, Website & Media Coordinator
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