War on Afghanistan: Eight Years Too Long

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Diana Duarte, Media Coordinator
Phone: +1 212 627 0444
Email: media@madre.org

War on Afghanistan: Eight Years Too Long

WASHINGTON - On October 7, 2001, the US began a military campaign that, to this
day, continues to destroy civilian lives in Afghanistan.  In the days
before the bombs fell, MADRE spoke out against the impending so-called
“war on terror” and warned:

“What’s needed now is
justice, not vengeance.  And killing more civilians will not bring
justice – or an end to terrorism.  Ultimately, the only way to end
terrorism is to end the poverty and despair that give rise to
fanaticism.” (A MADRE Open Letter in Response to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks, October 2, 2001)

We
have been told that the war is necessary to prevent al-Qaeda from using
Afghanistan as a staging ground to launch renewed attacks on the US. 
Yet, General David Petraeus himself acknowledges that al-Qaeda is no longer in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace finds that,
“The mere presence of foreign soldiers fighting a war in Afghanistan is
probably the single most important factor in the resurgence of the Taliban.”

We
have been told that the war is necessary to defend Afghan women.  Yet,
Afghan women know that their rights cannot be secured at gunpoint.  In
fact, the US military is further endangering Afghan women by turning
their communities into war zones.  Women are disproportionately
threatened by the US/NATO airstrikes and house raids that have turned
so many Afghans against the US.  Meanwhile, the war worsens conditions
of poverty and insecurity that prevent the formation of democratic
public spaces that women need to successfully assert their rights.

The
problems that confront Afghanistan, including deep poverty, an epidemic
of violence against women and political corruption are largely the
results of decades of armed conflict.  They will not be resolved by
more warfare. It is time for the US to rethink Afghanistan.

After
thousands of civilian deaths and countless communities destroyed, the
US must recognize that continued military occupation does not protect
US national security and only worsens conditions for Afghan people.

Tell your Congressional representative that eight years is enough: tell him or her to watch the film Rethink Afghanistan, an unflinching look at the weak premises for the war and the toll it is taking on Afghan women and families.

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MADRE is an international women's human rights organization that works in partnership with community-based women's organizations worldwide to address issues of health and reproductive rights, economic development, education, and other human rights. MADRE provides resources, training, and support to enable our sister organizations to meet concrete needs in their communities while working to shift the balance of power to promote long-term development and social justice. Since we began in 1983, MADRE has delivered nearly 25 million dollars worth of support to community-based women's organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Balkans, and the United States. For more information about MADRE, visit our website at www.madre.org.

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