Afghanistan: Bring the troops back.

Stop the War Coalition today said the charging of three Australian commandos over last year’s killing of six Afghan civilians, including children, sheds light on the reality of this nine-year war – a war in which no-one knows how many Afghans have been killed.

News that the International Criminal Court was likely to lay war crimes charges if the commandos were not brought to book underscores the seriousness of the charges. Five children and a woman were killed after Australian troops threw a grenade into an Afghan home.

Now, Coalition leader Tony Abbott says Australia should increase the troop numbers in Afghanistan. This is despite a majority of Australians opposing this war.

Bipartisanship has prevented the country from debating the war – something that should have taken place before committing to war. Now, as part of the minority ALP government’s agreement with the Greens, defence minister Stephen Smith has announced parliament would have the debate before the end of the year.

Rather than scrutinise why Australia is a part of such a long-running war of aggression in Asia, the horrendous consequences of the war have been kept from public scrutiny.

On September 15, 14 people were killed in Dargah Mandi, north west Pakistan. On September 21, 28 people were killed in South Waziristan. Since August 2008, more than 1070 people have been killed by more than 125 drone attacks launched from US army bases.

Bipartisanship has allowed the media to paint war critics as either supporters of fundamentalism or antagonists of the troops.

Opponents of the war are neither.

As independent MP Andrew Wilkie said, this war is based on a lie: this war is not about fighting terrorism.

Stop the War Coalition believes the war is about making sure that Kabul is compliant enough for the West to do business with. Yet the corruption scandals engulfing the Hamid Kazai government mean that Western military and political support for the regime is helping to weaken support for the war.

As more Afghans and US-NATO troops are killed and hundreds of thousands flow into Pakistan and Iran – countries with little ability to cope with the huge impacts – Stop the War Coalition says the time for the troops to leave is now.

A parliamentary debate is welcome, but it has to go a lot further. To that end, Stop the War Coalition is organising a chance for the community to voice their concerns.

Phil Glendenning from the Edmund Rice Centre, whose work with Afghan refugees has helped inform his view that this is not a good war, will be one of the speakers at the “Troops out” rally on Friday October 8, 5.30pm at Sydney Town Hall.

Pip Hinman 0412 139 968 * Marlene Obeid 0401 758 871 * Andrew Cheesman 0409 959 014



More trotskite bs just what we expect from the ffith column