Monday, October 09, 2006

Five Reasons... And More... Why Canada Needs to Leave Afghanistan Now!

Canada must leave Afghanistan now—not because Canadian troops are dying or because Canada’s presence in Afghanistan fails to meet the criteria of a 'peacekeeping' mission. Canada needs to leave because this mission runs against the interests of the people of Afghanistan.

Some will argue this war is bringing democracy to Afghanistan. So, what kind of democracy is Canada bringing to the people of Afghanistan and how is it doing this?

One. Afghanistan is a theocracy. It is a country ruled by religion. The US and its allies brought Hamid Karzai to power. Soon after, this country was renamed the ‘Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’ and sharia law was made the highest law of the land. This means: journalists can be jailed for speaking in favor of women’s rights and people risk execution for converting to Christianity or other religions.

Two. Afghanistan is under occupation which means power is not in the hands of the people, instead sovereignty is in the hands of NATO and the US. The people of Afghanistan will not decide the major policies which they will be forced to live with. What will they be forced to live with? Women being stoned to death for committing adultery, among other horrors.

Three. In rural areas, people are in large part illiterate and impoverished. Warlords dominate the countryside and severely oppress the peasant population and women are especially targeted. Child selling, kidnapping and rape are common. These warlords are allied to the central government that Canada helped into power. The warlords have so much control over the countryside that people can’t organize meaningful opposition. The elections have not liberated anyone–they have served their objective—to legitimize the new government for public opinion.

Four. In many ways, living under the occupation is worse than living under the Taliban. There is little infrastructure. Life for women has become more dangerous as they face a greater risk of being raped. Unemployment is rampant. Peasants are indebted to rural moneylenders. And the occupiers will point to the Taliban and other political forces to excuse their actions. “You’d be living under them if it weren’t for us.” Too bad the occupiers are in the process of creating a miserable society within their firm grip.

Five. It is up to the people of Afghanistan to begin developing their country in a positive direction. The end of the occupation will not guarantee that the Taliban won’t return victorious. But, most Afghans justifiably hate the Taliban and it is quite possible that Afghans, without any foreign leadership, would be able to defeat the Taliban and forces similar. This said, the occupation of Afghanistan guarantees prolonged suffering and ironically serves pro-taliban sentiment.

These are only five reasons why Canada must leave Afganistan...

There are many more reasons.


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