“The responsibility rests with the US, British & other NATO governments which plunged into a war that was always doomed to fail.”
STATEMENT ON AFGHANISTAN – SOCIALIST CAMPAIGN GROUP OF LABOUR MPs:
“Twenty years ago, the longest war in US history – longer even than the Vietnam war – was launched in Afghanistan, with the support of the British government, despite the warnings of the anti-war movement.
The anti-war movement argued at the time against the rush to war and urged other ways of responding to the horrific 9/11 terrorist attack. In particular, the anti-war movement warned that military occupation of Afghanistan could not lead to stable governance and would be rejected as a foreign imposition by many Afghans.
The disastrous situation in Afghanistan is a consequence more than anything of a twenty-year long failed military intervention. The responsibility rests with the US, British and other NATO governments which plunged into a war that was always doomed to fail. The fact of the invasion, not the manner of its ending, has driven the crisis in Afghanistan.
The arguments of the anti-war movement have been borne out in the most appalling and tragic manner. Many tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed in the twenty year war while over 450 British army personnel and 2300 US army personnel lost their lives.
Afghanistan remains amongst the poorest and least developed countries in the world. The US has spent over $1 trillion and the UK tens of billions on this futile war. This should have been used to tackle poverty and underdevelopment, a lack of access to clean water and on improving education and healthcare for the Afghan people and for people around the world, to transform their lives for the better.
But the decision was taken by George Bush and by Tony Blair to go to war and the Afghan people are now paying the price. It should be remembered that the US and UK governments in the 1980s provided arms and support to the Mujahideen which contributed to the later Taliban domination of Afghanistan.
Democracy and social progress cannot be delivered externally by the bombs and bullets of the US and British governments. It can only be the product of the people themselves.
We urge the British government in this emergency situation to take a lead in offering a refugee programme and working with the United Nations on reparations to rebuild Afghanistan – things which would actually help advance the rights of the Afghan people and women in particular. The British government should also stop any deportations to Afghanistan of existing refugees.
There is no military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan. Any argument of sending troops back to Afghanistan should be rejected. We urge politicians of all parties, including our own, to draw the correct lessons from the disastrous military intervention in Afghanistan and the wars in Iraq and Libya and elsewhere.
Britain must have an independent foreign policy and must no longer play the role of unquestioning junior partner to US military interventions.”
● Diane Abbott MP
● Tahir Ali MP
● Apsana Begum MP
● Christine Blower, Member of the House of Lords
● Pauline Bryan, Member of the House of Lords
● Richard Burgon MP
● Ian Byrne MP
● Jeremy Corbyn MP
● Bryn Davies, Member of the House of Lords
● John Hendy, Member of the House of Lords
● Ian Lavery MP
● Rebecca Long-Bailey MP
● Ian Mearns MP
● John McDonnell MP
● Grahame Morris MP
● Kate Osborne MP
● Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP
● Jon Trickett MP
● Prem Sikka, Member of the House of Lords
● Zarah Sultana MP
● Claudia Webbe MP
● Mick Whitley MP
● Beth Winter MP
● Tony Woodley, Member of the House of Lords