Prime Minister Stephen Harper has suggested that Canadian Special Forces troops may remain in Afghanistan after 2014. This is the third time that Harper has lied to Canadians, saying that he will not extend the mission then flip-flopping and keeping troops in the war torn country.
The Canadian Peace Alliance and Afghans for Peace strongly condemn this potential extension and once again call on the Harper Conservatives to respect the will of Canadians and the Afghan people and bring the troops home now. A recent Angus Reid poll found 58 per cent of Canadians strongly disagree with keeping troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. A CBC news live poll found a whopping 95 per cent of Canadians are opposed to the extension.
In the context of a global economic crisis and austerity budgets at home, the last thing we need is for the Conservative government to spend tens of millions more dollars enforcing a brutal occupation. The Afghan people want schools and hospitals, not more guns and special forces troops.
The war in Afghanistan has been a disaster for the Afghan people who have had to endure a decade of night raids, bombings and the deaths of thousands of civilians. The recent high profile attacks by a U.S. Soldier in Kandahar which killed 17 civilians is but the latest in a litany of abuses meted out to the Afghan people at the hands of NATO. And the attacks on the NATO and the Afghan parliament this month prove that the goal of providing a security for the Afghans is an illusion. NATO can’t even control the central area of Kabul where there offices are located.
It is far beyond time to get all NATO troops out of the country. Harper is floating this idea of an extension now that the U.S. Afghan strategic partnership has just been ratified. The partnership will keep a permanent presence in the country and Canada is being asked to help the U.S. in continuing this war. Canadian foreign policy should not be set by the Pentagon or NATO but by the people of this country who are overwhelmingly calling for peace.
Canadians will stand in opposition to this new extension and will stand in solidarity with the Afghan people until all occupying troops are removed.