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Afghanistan: end the war now

NATO's withdrawal of its personnel from all Afghan ministries today is an indication that they are losing control of the situation in the country.

Earlier two senior NATO officials were shot dead in the most secure section of the Interior Ministry in Kabul, itself the the most heavily guarded building in the capital.

The shootings coincided with demonstrations across the country in protest at US soldiers burning copies of the Koran. Those protests in turn indicate an intense bitterness towards the NATO forces and that the Afghan people want the occupation to end.

This is hardly surprising. The level of violence in Afghanistan has been rising year on year since 2006. Afghans have become so used to NATO attacks on their public ceremonies that, in the most contested areas, traditional outdoor weddings have all but disappeared.

Meanwhile the much promised reconstruction has not materialised and the country remains near the very bottom of the UNDP development index.

Continuing the occupation will only prolong the violence and the immiseration of the country. Isolated as they are, the foreign forces are only being kept in Afghanistan to save face for the politicians who have backed the war.

NATO forces should be withdrawn immediately in order to allow the Afghans to determine their future.

Stop the War Coalition, February 2012