rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Afghans want peace not more war

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

A recent (May 2009) face-to-face poll of 3,200 Afghans found a large majority of Afghans want the government to make amends with the Taliban.

Do you think the government should hold talks and reconcile with the Taliban?

Yes: 68% No: 14% Not sure: 18% (link)

The results of the poll, commissioned by the International Republican Institute, are not very surprising. A poll two years ago found 60% of the country in favour of negotiations with the Taliban.

A few of the better Western journalists have also reported the general Afghan desire for negotiations. Washington Post journalist Pamela Constable found in her interviews that most Afghans don't want a surge, they want a negotiated peace.

Yet, despite Afghan wishes, the surge is on, as 4,000 US Marines have demonstrated with Operation Khanjar, "the first large-scale test of new American tactics and resolve in Afghanistan," (The Guardian) currently underway in Helmand province.

American military officials say they are confident of quick victory which seems to be defined as clearing and holding land which has eluded the control of NATO forces. But some locals are skeptical:

In my opinion these operations won't have any good result. The only thing that will give a good result will be peace talks, talks with the Taliban," Wahdat Khan, a 23-year-old from Helmand, told Reuters television.

 

Amirollah, from Jalalabad, was blunt in his assessment.

"They haven't come here for Afghans or to take their hand and give them peace," Amirollah, 45, said of the Americans... (Reuters) (link)

The operation's problematic aspects don't end there. While military spokespeople spout tactics straight out of prevailing COIN doctrine about needing civilian follow-up to get Afghan buy-in, these troops didn't come prepared for that:

The Afghan army and civilian development workers are conspicuous by their absence in this operation. The state department has not delivered the development specialists it was supposed to send, and their place has been filled temporarily by reservists. Meanwhile, the Afghan army has sold only 500 soldiers, a token presence in what was intended to be a joint operation. (link)

And speaking of opinion, Australians have again voiced their opposition to the war. In a recent poll, 49% of Australian respondents opposed their government's recent addition of 450 troops to the war in Afghanistan.

Related:

* BBC: "68% of those questioned said the UK should pull its soldiers out during the next year."

* 54% of Germans want their troops out.

* Canadian public still wants their troops out.

* Three quarters of Poles oppose war.

* 55% of French want out of Afghanistan.

* Most Australians oppose Afghan war.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.