Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Code Pink rethinks Afghanistan

‘Code Pink’ rethinks its call for Afghanistan pullout
In Afghanistan, the US women’s activist group finds that their Afghan counterparts want US troop presence – as well as more reconstruction.

By Aunohita Mojumdar, correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, October 6, 2009

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - When Medea Benjamin stood up in a Kabul meeting hall this weekend to ask Masooda Jalal if she would prefer more international troops or more development funds, the cofounder of US antiwar group Code Pink was hoping her fellow activist would support her call for US troop withdrawal.

She was disappointed.

Ms. Jalhal, the former Afghan minister of women, bluntly told her both were needed. “It is good for Afghanistan to have more troops – more troops committed with the aim of building peace and against war, terrorism, and security – along with other resources,” she answered. “Coming together they will help with better reconstruction.”

Code Pink, founded in 2002 to oppose the US invasion of Iraq, is one of the more high-profile women's antiwar groups being forced to rethink its position as Afghan women explain theirs: Without international troops, they say, armed groups could return with a vengeance – and that would leave women most vulnerable.


Roland Dodds said...

If Codepink actually listens to their female activist compatriots from Afghanistan, they may have a change of heart about the operation.

What would be odd and sad, is if Medea’s group changes its line, just as Middle America (that has generally supported the Afghan mission) changes theirs.

bob said...

A rare outbreak of good sense.

Btw, first link needs fixing.

kellie said...

Oops, thanks Bob.

They've still got some way to go. Dropping the demand that withdrawal should be immediate while still arguing against sending more troops on the basis of concern for the population makes little sense. Fewer ground forces would mean more use of air strikes and more civilian casualties, and also make it all the harder to develop local forces capable of responsibly protecting the population.

Their current petition:

President Obama,

We, the women of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the United States, implore you to refrain from sending more United States military forces to Afghanistan.

We encourage you to work quickly for a political solution in Afghanistan that will lead to a reconciliation process in which women will fully participate and a withdrawal of foreign military forces.

Sending more military forces will only increase the violence and will do further harm to women in children. Instead, the funds should be redirected to improving the health, education and welfare of the Afghan people.