This month marks the 10th year of the Afghanistan War. Despite token troop drawdowns, U.S. troops and mercenary “contractors” seem poised to continue their occupation of the country for some time. The 10-year war has brought only death and carnage to the Afghan people, while over 2670 soldiers from the United States, Canada, and other Western countries have also given their lives.
Yet Afghani insurgents are able to continue their attacks unabated. On Oct. 8, they attacked four U.S. outposts simultaneously, using rockets and a suicide bomber.
The U.S.-backed government of Hamid Karzai is rife with corruption and deeply unpopular. The so-called Afghan army has proved incompetent to take over from U.S. forces. The brutality of Karzai’s regime was brought out this month by a UN report revealing that Afghan security officials systematically torture prisoners in order to obtain confessions. The report described abuse including ripping detainees’ toenails out and twisting their genitals. Nearly half of the prisoners interviewed said they had been tortured by Afghani security agents.
And now, while the quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq persist, the U.S. has undertaken a new war in Libya, and threatens further action in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan War, the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) has called for nationally coordinated antiwar activities to take place in cities throughout the United States on Saturday, Oct. 15.
About 25 cities have announced antiwar events for Oct. 15 or 16. In many areas, the antiwar calls have been linked to demands that protest the fact that the U.S. government is waging a war on working people at home—cutting back on health care and education while bailing out the Wall Street banks.
In some cities, Oct. 15 protests will be coordinated with the on-going Occupations. The New York UNAC march will hold a noon rally on Wall Street and then march to the Zuccotti Park encampment. The slogan is, “Wall St. is War St.!” Boston and Philadelphia antiwar forces will hold similar marches to their local Occupation sites.
UNAC was formed in July 2010, when over 800 antiwar activists gathered in Albany, N.Y., for the largest U.S. movement conference since the beginnings of the “War on Terror” a decade ago.
UNAC organized large bi-coastal antiwar mobilizations last April 9-10 and it also built timely responses to the huge events of 2011: the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and other Arab countries; the wars on communities of color, with racist attacks on Muslims and pre-emptive prosecutions; heightened attacks on civil liberties, such as the FBI’s victimization of antiwar activists; and the struggle against Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
UNAC has called for giant demonstrations next May to protest the NATO /G8 summit in Chicago. To help build the protest, UNAC will hold its next national conference on March 23-25 in Stamford, Conn. The conference will also develop an action program for the next stage of building a mass movement for social change.
> The article above is an editorial reprinted from the October 2011 print edition of Socialist Action newspaper.