The Canadian Peace Alliance has sent a letter to Alexa McDonough, foreign affairs critic for the NDP, asking her to call for the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan during Monday's debate. It is urgent to get our message across to Alexa so that she understands that Canadians want this addressed in Parliament.
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If you have a minute, please send either a new message to Alexa or a brief note that you support the Canadian Peace Alliance's position on withdrawal from Afghanistan. The letter from the Canadian Peace Alliance to Alexa is below, and Alexa's e-mail address is:
and Dawn Black's (Defense Critic) address is:
For addresses for other MPs as well, follow this link.
It's really easy. All you have to do is copy the following text and send it to Alexa's e-mail address, adding "I support this letter" above or below it.
The Canadian Peace Alliance is thankful that the New Democratic Party is raising the debate about the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. This is a combat mission that is causing more violence and suffering for the Afghan people. Any clarity that can be gained by a debate will be helpful yet we are concerned that the NDP has not yet raised the call for troops to be removed from Afghanistan. It is, in our view, the only moral choice for ending the conflict and allowing for real democracy to flourish.
We are calling for troops to be removed for a series of reasons. The role of Canadian forces is to extend the influence of the central Afghan State in Kandahar province. The nature of that state is rarely discussed but it must be addressed. The Government of Afghanistan was founded on a deal struck between the warlord factions, the US and Hamid Karzai in Bonn Germany in December 2001. The deal has entrenched the power of some of the worst warlords and human rights abusers in the nations history. The documentation from human rights groups has consistently shown that the warlords are the chief source of violence and corruption in the country. The Canadian Government is supporting these warlords, which ensures that Canadian troops will continue to be attacked.
The conduct of the occupation forces led by the United States has resulted in abuses of human rights. The US has operated secret prisons in Afghanistan and has been involved in arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and extrajudicial killing of Afghan civilians. Canada must cease all support for the US occupation under these circumstances.
Members of the Afghan parliament are being financed by opium cultivation. The Taliban had many faults but they had eradicated opium production as of June 2001. The resurgence in poppy cultivation, which has come because of the invasion, is now more than double the amount of internationally dispensed aid. The warlord groups that now make up more that 60% of the Afghan parliament are the main organizers of that trade. We are supporting the drug trade in Afghanistan if we support the Afghan State.
It is often argued that we would help the people of Afghanistan if we change our tactics. But peacekeeping in support of the warlords is no better than combat in support of the warlords. We are supporting a government controlled by US forces in conjunction with drug runners and former Taliban commanders. How we support that government is not the issue. Any support for these enemies of democracy in Afghanistan has the effect of increasing violence. Recruitment for the Taliban and Al Quaeda has increased in Kandahar since Canada arrived. Strangely, our military leaders seem clear on this issue. Major General Andrew Leslie said at the Couchiching conference last summer, "each time we kill a man overseas we are creating 15 more who will come after us".
There have been many foreign interventions in Afghanistan over the past 30 years and none of than has had the best interests of the Afghan people at heart. Whether it was the invasion by the USSR or the US support and arming of the Taliban, each intervention has made life worse for the citizens of the country. Canada is now fighting alongside groups the US armed 5 years ago and against groups the US armed 10 years ago. The people of Afghanistan have had enough of that type of international help.
US foreign policy towards Afghanistan has been dominated by need for the Trans Afghan Pipeline. Dick Cheney while an executive at UNOCAL corporation, lobbied the Clinton Administration to support the Taliban because they supported the construction of the pipeline. The new pipeline project signed in spring 2002, called the Turkmenistan Afghanistan pipeline (TAP) has Canadian corporate involvement as well. Canadian oil and gas companies have signed multi-million dollar deals with the governments of the Caspian region for projects associated with the TAP. The person who signed those deals for the Canadian companies was none other than Jean Chretien, our former Prime Minister and the man responsible for sending more than 8000 Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan. There is only one stumbling block to completion of TAP. The route, which goes through Kandahar province, has to be secured.
The people of Afghanistan want peace. The US and Hamid Karzai want oil. We are legitimizing that occupation by supporting the US and the Afghan State. There is not a shred of hope that either the Harper government or the Liberals have any interest in changing the nature of our involvement in Afghanistan. While Canadians debate potential changes in the intervention our soldiers continue to create more violence and anger in Afghanistan. The only choice is to call for the troops to be removed.
There are democratic forces in Afghanistan which are trying to bring about real change there but they are consistently undermined and attacked by the very state we are supporting. Malalai Joya, an MP from Farah province has just finished a tour of North America where she exposed the true nature of the Afghan State. She has received death threats for being outspoken and while she was here the government of Hamid Karzai cut her security funding. We can support these grassroots groups in Afghanistan but not while Canadian soldiers kill to support their enemies. We hope that our friends in the NDP can aid us in this our call for Canadian troops to be removed now.
For more information please see the CPA website at www.acp-cpa.ca