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10 deaths too many: Bring NZ troops home from Afghanistan

23 August 2012

10 years too long – 10 deaths too many: Bring New Zealand troops home from Afghanistan

Global Peace and Justice Auckland is organising a protest outside the Defence Force Army Centre at 204 Great North Road, Grey Lynn from 12 noon this Sunday 26th August to call for New Zealand troops to be brought home from Afghanistan where five have been killed in the past three weeks for no material purpose.

From GPJA’s point of view New Zealand should never have gone there in the first place. The Prime Minister’s comments that New Zealanders don’t just “cut and run” at signs of trouble is made to sound good but it’s not Key whose life is on the line.

“John Key prefers to risk young New Zealanders lives rather than risk personal embarrassment to himself if our troops come home earlier than the US wants.”

Such a withdrawal would be a recognition that there is no sensible or logical reason for our troops to be in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is our longest ever deployment of troops overseas and despite the official cover story our soldiers are propping up a woman-hating, medieval regime of warlords and drug barons. We are there because the US wants us there. Most Afghanis want us gone.

GPJA will be inviting political parties to send representatives to speak at the protest.

When our soldiers joined the foreign invasion in 2001 we were told by Prime Minister Helen Clark we were making the world safer after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre. This was untrue as Osama bin Laden had long gone by then and there have been no Afghans involved in 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)

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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. Afghanistan’s so-called “President” Hamed Karzai won the last election through fraud and has as much legitimacy as the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe.

Our government has sent New Zealanders to risk their lives defending this corrupt regime. This has ended in tragedy for five soldiers and their families along with the lives of tens of thousands of Afghan civilians.

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 come home now.

In the 10 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 and despite the supposed bravery of our SAS troops they haven’t in the past had 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.

Neither is there any place or our “provincial reconstruction team”. Afghanistan needs money to help rebuild and this should be channelled through non-governmental organisations. The $200 million plus 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.

Global Peace & Justice Auckland


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