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Bring New Zealand troops home

GLOBAL PEACE & JUSTICE AUCKLAND
www.gpja.org.nz

4 August 2010

Media Release:

Bring New Zealand troops home

The death of a New Zealand soldier killed in Afghanistan today should be the catalyst for a withdrawal of all our troops from the country where they are part of a hated foreign occupation.

The government must bear responsibility for this death because our soldiers should not be there and never should have joined the invasion in the first place.

When our troops first went in we were told by Helen Clark we were making the world safer after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre. This was untrue – Osama bin Laden had long gone by the time the foreigners invaded and there have been no Afghans involved terror attacks anywhere in the world. (In fact the Taleban leadership in Afghanistan had offered to arrest bin Laden for trial in a neutral country but this was ignored in the bloodlust which followed the 9/11 attacks)

Then we were told the New Zealanders were helping liberate women from the Taleban. However the US approved regime of Hamed Karzai which replaced the Taleban passed laws which meant a woman could be starved to death by her husband for refusing sex and a man could avoid prosecution for rape by marrying his victim or paying compensation.

Next we were told our troops were helping to bring democracy to Afghanistan but this is a joke. In reality we are propping up a medieval regime of warlords and drug runners. Hamed Karzai won the last election through fraud and has as much legitimacy as the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe.

John Key has sent New Zealanders to risk their lives defending this corrupt, woman-hating regime. Key’s decision has ended in tragedy for one soldier and escalating danger to others.

We are part of the problem in Afghanistan. We are foreign occupiers and we are on the losing side both morally and militarily.

Our troops should never have gone. They should be brought home before any more body bags are needed.


--


Other background
In the nine years since New Zealand took part in the illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (it was never sanctioned by the United Nations) that country has been plunged into violence and chaos for which New Zealand shares responsibility.

In earlier deployments New Zealand troops handed over “suspects” they captured to the American forces who tortured and often murdered their captives. GPJA called on former Prime Minister Helen Clark to condemn the murder of two Afghanis in US custody when their cases were publicised. Helen Clark turned a blind eye.

And despite the supposed bravery of our SAS troops they didn’t have the courage to insist on Geneva Convention treatment for people they handed over to the US. One New Zealand SAS soldier was quoted as saying “we sort of knew what would happen to the prisoners, Americans being Americans”.

PM John Key’s tells us any suspects are now handed over to Afghan authorities and he said he had assurances they would be well treated. Those assurances are worthless. This is the regime which suffocated to death hundreds of suspects in containers and which uses torture and murder as its modus operandi.

There is no place for New Zealand troops or our provincial reconstruction team. Afghanistan needs money to help rebuild and this should be channelled through non-governmental organisations. The over $200 million spent so far by New Zealand on reconstruction would have stretched a lot further if it was spent through NGOs rather than on New Zealand soldiers doing reconstruction work on the other side of the world.


ENDS

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