The Kabul conference that discussed the war in Afghanistan only served to demonstrate the impasse which the war has now reached.
Even the US administration has conceded that talks with the Taliban - so far resisted by Obama - are going to happen. The recognition that the war is losing contradicts the statements, still reiterated by foreign secretary William Hague, that there is a gradual improvement in the situation in Afghanistan.
The much-touted date for withdrawal in 2014 shows the desperation of the Nato governments, faced with defeat in Afghanistan and growing unpopularity of the war domestically.
The fact that they are talking about a withdrawal date reflects the growing costs of the war, in human life and in billions of dollars.
The death rate of British soldiers now stands at similar levels to those of Russian soldiers just before their withdrawal 20 years ago. The death rate of Afghans has increased over the past year.
The Afghan army, supposedly being trained to take over the war from the Nato forces, has a 25% desertion rate.
But the conference answered none of this.
Why is fighting continuing in Helmand and the south when a likely outcome of negotiations to end the war will be to hand over that area to the Taliban?
How can western governments claim the war is about human rights when it backs a government ranking among the most corrupt in the world? Why are these same governments ignoring public opinion, which is for rapid withdrawal of troops and an end to the war?
The role of the British government in this war has been shameful, from John Reid’s claim four years ago that the troops might be able to leave Helmand without a shot being fired in anger, to Hague’s current increasingly desperate justifications for the war.
How many more people will die before the proposed withdrawal date? How many billions will be spent on an unjustifiable war while the welfare state is slashed by the Con-Lib government.
And which government minister will have to tell the families of the dead what exactly they were fighting for?
In the coming months, Stop the War will be intensifying its campaign to bring the troops home, as most people in Britain want. We believe that the anti-war movement can make a difference, if it can mobilise this overwhelming majority into active opposition to the government's war policies.
We are planning events and activities, both nationally and across the country, involving military families, trade unions, school amd college students, faith groups and anti-war campaigners.
On November 20, to coincide with the next Nato summit, which will have Afghanistan top of its agenda, we have called a national demonstration in London, to reflect the majority view in this country, that it's time to go - time to bring the troops home.
Everyone who opposes the pointless war in Afghanistan can help build the campaign to bring the troops home:
• Lobby your local MP
You can lobby your MP both face to face at their weekly surgeries and by writing to them using our online lobbying resource, which enables you to send an email in under two minutes. By law, MPs are required to reply to all communications from their constituents. Lobby your local MP online now...
• Join a local Stop the War group
• Start a local Stop the War group
• Write to your local newspaper
Write to the local press, making a connection between bringing and an issue of local interest. For example, in response to a story about a soldier in the locality who has been tragically killed or wounded in a futile and unjustified war. Or link the cost of the war, now running at around £6 billion a year, to cuts in local public services now being implemented by the government.
From Stop the War site
As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.
Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.
More articles from this author
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- In the Blair bunker war never ends – weekly briefing
- Afghanistan: the collapse of the war on terror – weekly briefing
- Blairism: first time tragedy, second time farce – weekly briefing