For Immediate Release
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, 415-235-6517
Jodie Evans, CODEPINK co-founder, 310-621-5635
CODEPINK Disheartened by US Military Killing of Afghan Police
States an Increase in Troops Would Increase Civilian Deaths
WASHINGTON - The murder of six Afghan police and one civilian, as well as injury to a dozen others, at the hands of U.S. military Monday in Afghanistan is disheartening and upsetting, said CODEPINK Women for Peace leaders today in response to the story. It is a sad sign of what will come with an increase in U.S. troops in that country.
Such accidents -- the deaths of innocent Afghan civilians -- are bound to occur in far greater numbers if the U.S. sends more troops to Afghanistan, leading to more violence, more suffering and more recruits for the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
"If there's a surge, there will be a surge in the killing of innocent people," said Jodie Evans, CODEPINK co-founder. "There is no military solution in Afghanistan."
At the height of the U.S. invasion in 2001, hundreds of innocent Afghan civilians were killed and maimed by U.S. "smart bombs." Seven years later, they continue to be killed and maimed. According to a 2000 Human Rights Watch report, the number of Afghan civilians killed by U.S. and NATO air strikes nearly tripled from 2006 to 2007.
U.S. soldiers are also dying in greater numbers, about 153 so far this year and the Taliban has grown stronger.
"President-elect Obama must rethink his call for sending more troops," said co-founder Medea Benjamin, who has traveled several times to Afghanistan and maintains contact with Afghan women's groups. "Our military presence is a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and is part of the problem, not part of the solution. There must be a negotiated settlement with the more moderate elements of the Taliban, with Afghan women being part of these negotiations so they can stand up for their rights."
Many top military and foreign policy experts are starting to oppose the idea of sending more U.S. troops into Afghanistan, as President-elect Obama has called for. Among them is former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who has said that we run the risk that our military presence will gradually turn the entire Afghan population against us. Others acknowledge that it will be impossible to conquer tribal forces in a vast, rugged, thinly populated country like Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan and that a negotiated settlement is the only "solution."
For questions or interviews with Jodie Evans, Medea Benjamin or (retired) Col. Ann Wright, please call Jean Stevens at 508-769-2138.