As we pause to remember the events of 9/11 and honor the victims here in the United States, let’s remember the millions of Afghans who have been killed, maimed and/or displaced over these years. I am one of them. When I was six, we fled our home and country in the middle of the night after a rocket blew up our neighbor's house. By age 24, I had already lived in five countries.
The U.S. troops that invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban are still there 17 years later, and so are the Taliban. Today, up to 20 insurgent groups are waging war in my homeland. U.S. presence has only made the violence worse. And the women the U.S. was supposedly helping through its invasion of Afghanistan are now worse off than they've ever been. CODEPINK has consistently campaigned against this senseless war in Afghanistan. That’s why we are yet again sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis asking him to finally withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Add your name now!
Afghanistan has suffered in the aftermath of 9/11 more than any other nation. As we approach the 17th year of the U.S. military intervention, violence across the country is escalating at an alarming rate and the bloodshed doesn’t look set to end anytime soon. The Taliban, who were supposed to be part of a dark history, are now the solid reality of the present. Survival is still the primary concern for Afghans. This past Wednesday, a journalist who was working to highlight the human toll of the war was among 20 killed in a deadly attack in Kabul.
Most Afghans live in extreme poverty. Unemployment is rampant. Millions have become refugees and internally displaced. Afghans make up the world’s second largest refugee population (after Syrians) and they are living in horrific conditions. On a recent trip by CODEPINK organizer Nancy Mancias to refugee camps in Lesvos Greece, Afghan refugees described the camps as even more dangerous than Afghanistan.
It is time to cut through the fog of war and reveal the untold story of the death, devastation and the destruction that the U.S. military is part of. We need negotiations and peace talks to end this war, and all foreign military forces must leave. Tell U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis that after 17 years of war, it is clear that there is no military solution. It is up to us, the Afghan people, to build a future free of war.
For peace, not militarism,
Samira Abrar, CODEPINK Divest from War Campaigner
P.S. Read our latest PinkTank articles on Afghanistan: The Human Cost of War for Afghan Children, In Afghanistan, we need to rethink the institution of war, and Can Afghans convince us that the method of war isn’t effective?