100 soldiers dead, an unknown number of afghans, and how many more to come?

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
9 June 2008

This week the death toll for British soldiers killed in Afghanistan reached 100, after another 3 young paratroopers were killed by a suicide bomber while on patrol.

Some newspapers printed all of the photos and names of those killed over the past 7 years. Most of them were killed in the last 2 years.

But did the MOD take the opportunity to apologise to the families and friends of the troops who have been killed and injured as a result of this horrific misadventure? Or to commit itself to withdrawing the British army, while admitting that it had only made matters worse for the population? And what about the (unknown) death toll of Afghan men, women and children?

No, there was no apology. Instead, Des Browne, the defence secretary, actually used the occasion to celebrate what he dares to call the "achievements" of the invasion. Of course it is understandable that relatives of the dead wish to believe that the soldiers have not died in vain. But that does not change the fact that they should never have been in Afghanistan in the first place. And that if the so-called "hearts and minds" operation has "achieved" anything, it is a polarisation of the population against the invaders.

Nevertheless, it is clear that a troop withdrawal is certainly not on the government's agenda, even if it should be. Commentators are saying that the British operation (involving 8,000 troops at present) is likely to continue for the foreseeable future and that the army is likely to remain active in Afghanistan for at least a decade to come. That does not change the fact that the working class has no interest whatsoever in supporting this intolerable war. Troops out now!