A document obtained by NBC news reveals that the U.S. war in Afghanistan is being renewed rather than wound down.
Dated November 19, the story reports that the not-yet-signed draft agreement "has the potential to commit thousands of American troops to Afghanistan and spend billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars." It would call for continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan from 2015 until 2024 "and beyond." The document has since been confirmed by the Obama Administration as the final draft agreement that now goes to Afghan tribal elders for approval.
Terms of the agreement include bases for "exclusive use" by U.S. troops; U.S. funding and training of Afghan security forces; and exemption of U.S. troops from Afghan laws. Disputes between the U.S. and Afghan governments are reported to exist over U.S. raids on the homes of Afghans. Even the Karzai government, a U.S. client, has had to protest these raids, in which Afghan civilians have been killed in significant numbers. Despite the argument over U.S. raids, Secretary of State John Kerry has said that any notion of an apology on the behalf of the U.S. was "not on the table."
Although text in the agreement limits the ability of U.S. forces to search, detain, or arrest Afghans or Afghan property, continued U.S. presence and activity will mean more money wasted on destruction and more hostility towards America from those in the occupied lands. Further, continued free exercise of U.S. military power in the greater region - Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan - will inevitably lead to a continuation of civilian deaths from President Obama's duopoly-supported drone wars.
In the first decade after the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, we built an antiwar movement that protected Afghans by forcing Washington to promise to end that war. Now we learn of efforts by the Obama Administration to continue the war indefinitely. This is a time to gather our own forces and intentions to work for an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops, mercenaries, and equipment from Afghanistan. There is no prosperity for people and the planet without peace.
David Keil is a member of the Green-Rainbow Party active in Boston-area antiwar groups, including the United National Antiwar Coalition. He teaches computer science at Framingham State University and also writes for The Socialist.
Dru Tarr contributed to this report.