||October 7, 2012 was the 11th anniversary of the war on Afghanistan -- making it longer than the two 20th century world wars combined and the longest in United States history
||Every justification we have been given for a war on one of the world's poorest countries has been bogus -- whether it be exporting democracy, liberating Afghan women, combatting the drugs trade or defeating al-Qaeda -- an organisation which even Nato admits has virtually no fighters in Afghanistan.
||The most absurd justification -- and now the only one used by the British government -- is that the 10,000 UK troops are in Afghanistan to defend Britain's national security interests by keeping our streets safe from terrorism -- despite there being no evidence whatever that any Afghan intends to launch such an attack. In truth, the war in Afghanistan -- alongside other wars Britain has participated in over the past decade -- has made this country more insecure, not less, as was shown by the huge military operation which had to be mounted to protect the London Olympic Games in Summer 2012.
||The real purpose of the war is for the United States and its allies to control access to the rich oil and natural gas resources of Central Asia, and to counteract China’s strategic influence in the region. The UK as always is hanging on the coat tails of American foreign policy -- wherever its wars may take the British military.
||Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed -- with countless more seriously injured -- making Afghanistan one of the most insecure and unstable countries in the world.
||The war is not only unjustified and futile, but is clearly lost. Over 3000 Nato troops have been killed -- more than 2000 of them American and more than 400 British. They are being killed in ever escalating numbers because the Afghan people want to free their country from foreign occupation -- as the people of any country would want to.
||Countless numbers of British troops have returned from Afghanistan with life-changing physical and mental injuries -- whether it be the loss of limbs or eyes or the effects of psychological trauma caused be the war. That one in ten of Britain's total prison population is an ex-soldier shows the psychological and social impact for those sent to kill and be killed in foreign wars.
||The financial costs of the war are astronomical. The United States has spent so far $1.2 trillion. By the time of the supposed date for withdrawing British troops at the end of 2014, the UK will have spent well over £20 billion. This happens to be the amount the government is planning to cut from the country's National Health Service -- showing how the current attacks on the UK's public and welfare services could be avoided if Britain ended its addiction to war.
||The "exit strategy" of training the Afghan army and police to take over security for the country at the end of 2014, so that some kind of "victory" can be proclaimed as Nato withdraws its troops, is in tatters. The morale of soldiers in the Nato armies has disintegrated -- faced with a meaningless mission and the escalating number of them being killed by "insider attacks", carried out by the very same Afghan soldiers and police who are the cornerstone of the West's exit plans.
||As MP Paul Flynn told parliament, soldiers are being deployed in Afghanistan as "human shields" for politicians who would rather the killing and dying continue than have to admit the war is lost. The war should end immediately, all foreign troops should be brought home without firing another shot, and the people of Afghanistan should receive reparations for all the death and destruction of the past eleven years, to help them rebuild their country, free of western intervention.