The War in Afghanistan: Ten Years On

By Ryan Cassidy

‘Thousands of innocent civilians dead. War and Poverty rages in Afghanistan. All this for global stability?’ 

October 7th saw us mark the tenth anniversary of the War in Afghanistan, more precisely ‘Operation Enduring Freedom- a war that has lasted longer that both World Wars and cost’s the UK taxpayer over 12 million pounds a day.

The UK (or more precisely Blair’s Labour government) was the first off the blocks of all European countries. First to go to Washington, the first to promise troops to Bush.

After September 11th, the US Congress gave Bush unprecedented powers. Only one member of congress opposed the plans. Currently congress struggle to agree on simple domestic issues, so to act so quickly and to gain such a majority makes the reasons for the war questionable! Was it an act of revenge? An act of fear? Either way it was, and a recent ITN poll found that 57% of Britons want soldiers fighting in the region to come home immediately.

The first lots of troops were deployed in October 2001 to combat Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban, the latter was actually the product of US anti-communist resistance movement, the Mojahedin during the Cold War. This is something the west is far too familiar with;  it was a US backed coup that saw a Haitian government toppled and replaced with a puppet, that aided in the Iranian revolution and the Libyan Coup d’état of 1969. All of which became the target of the US when they stopped becoming useful.

The war saw arms dealers get the largest ever order of weapons and surveillance equipment of 21st century warfare. Since 2001 the cost of the war has risen year on year, making a few rich (including our leaders at the time) but has made millions more incredibly poor.

Today, after 10 years, we see the results of that rash decision days after 9/11. Thousands of innocent civilians dead. War and poverty ravages Afghanistan. Warlords now reign, one of the world poorest countries before the war is now in a worse state than it has been in decades.  All this for global stability?

The war costs the UK public £12 million per day, with spending cuts across the board, a financial crisis, high levels of unemployment, why is so much being spent of an unjust and in some eyes and illegal war?

In the past 10 years the War in Afghanistan had cost £18 billion, of which over £4 billion was spent last year. So far 380 UK soliders have been killed, and over 9,300 civilians have been killed by ISAF forces. The total cost in terms of lives to date is over 40,000, with an additional 3 million people being displaced and made homeless.

Leader of the International Socialist Group (ISG) at Strathclyde says of the conflict;

“The war is unjust, too many innocent civilians have been killed…the money spent on the war could be used to combat the UK wide welfare cuts”

The campaign has lasted almost as long as both World Wars combined; long time anti war activist and survivor of both WWI & WWII Hetty Bower recently told the Stop the War Coalition;

“I may no longer have a religion but I have a strong moral code and I believe that thou shalt not kill! Yet we are still killing people, children are still being maimed”

The UK government has given a four year timescale for the withdrawal of troops, ex Labour MP, Tony Benn PC, president of the Coalition believes this is too long. In the next four years how many more children will be killed? How much money will be funneled into a majorly unpopular war? What percentage will the insurgency rise? No one can say, but you can speak out, you have a voice, use it!var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);

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