Friday, May 28, 2010

Troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq

For the first time since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 there are now more U.S. troops in Afghanistan (94,000) than Iraq (92,000). The graph is from the Congressional Research Service document 'Boots on the Ground Reports to Congress'. Since the beginning of the Obama Administration in January 2009, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan has increased three-fold.

Last month I was part of a phone conference call with Afghan youth working in Bamiyan province to overcome violence in their community. I was not surprised they said it was lonely and difficult work. But I was surprised by the questions they asked, and how similar they were to the questions Iraqis have asked over the years. Why do Christians (Americans) hate us? How come nobody talks about the deaths of Afghan’s? How could Bible verses appear on bombs that were dropped in Afghanistan?

They said they were afraid that what happened in Iraq will happen to them.

Additional Resources

Don’t Extend U.S. troop withdrawal deadline
Raed Jarrar | The Progressive | 25 May 2010

Internal Peacebuilding to Build True Security
AFSC | Alternatives to War Series | Summer 2009

Take Action

Memorial Day and Milestones

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Day and Milestones

On Sunday morning at 10:06 AM, the Memorial Day weekend will be punctuated with the passing of a stunning milestone. At that moment, U.S. taxpayers will have spent $1 trillion on operational expenses for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Read our op-ed in Huffington Post on what a trillion dollars means to all of us.

Click here to finish reading the newsletter.

Other Resources:

$1 Trillion Action Toolkit

Cost of War Counter

Kabul Wedding by Art Hazelwood and Juan Fuentes, part of the AFSC Afghan Memorial Mural project.

Friday, May 21, 2010

From Prayers to Paralysis

Writing from Pakistan, Josuah Brollier tells the story, and shares the insights of a young Afghan severely wounded by a US missile strike. Drawing attention to the little considered way institutions in Pakistan are helping to heal the wounds of war.

Islamabad — Through the Soviet invasion and occupation, the Afghan civil war and now the United States war and occupation, a young man named Zainullah, around 25 years of age, has seen war his whole life. But you’d never know it by his engaging smile and his relaxed countenance. Zainullah currently lives at a paraplegic center in Hayatabad, Pakistan, a suburb of Peshawar, the capital city of the North-West Frontier Province. He is originally from the Helmand province of Afghanistan, which has been one of the most intense battlegrounds during the “war on terror” launched by the United States in 2001.

To continue reading.

Additional Resources

Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Special Report: How the White House learned to love the drone

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Death Squads, Collateral Murder, Cover-Ups

Dr. Zaher Wahab offers a view from Afghanistan on the impact of the war. The parallels to Iraq are striking. He has been in Kabul teaching for the last three months, and writes to the blog Dispatches from Afghanistan.

The US occupation of Afghanistan, which will enter its tenth year this fall, shows no signs of abating. In fact, both the brutal occupation and the resistance to it are intensifying. The human, financial, psychic and political costs to both countries have been enormous. More than 1,000 Americans have been killed, more than 4,000 injured, thousands suffering from various degrees of PTSD, and tens of thousands suffering from the militarization of their feelings. The war has cost the US about $270 billion so far, and is now costing the US taxpayers more than one billion dollars per week. On the Afghan side, unknown thousands of combatants and civilians have been killed, maimed, and/or are dying slow deaths. The society is impoverished, factionalized, sectarianized, brutalized, criminalized, gangsterized, traumatized, and militarized; it ranks at or near the bottom of every human development index. The country has been transformed into a hellhole with unimaginable poverty, disease, pain, and suffering.

Click here to read more.

Other Resources:

The Wounded Platoon
Frontline | 18 May 2010

U.S. launches criminal probe on soldiers in Afghanistan
Reuters | 20 May 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Afghan Civilian Memorial Mural Project

We are starting to receive work from the artists participating in our national mural project to remember Afghan civilian deaths. This compelling panel is from Janet Braun-Reinitz of Brooklyn, NY.
Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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