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Students to Protest Afghanistan War on 25 Campuses

Demonstrations mark 8th anniversary of Afghan War - demand immediate U.S./NATO withdrawal
By staff |
October 6, 2009
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On Oct. 7, students on 25 campuses across the United States will protest eight long years of war against the people of Afghanistan. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a national student organization committed to activism for peace, justice and equality, is organizing the protest.

"We are outraged by the daily loss of life and devastation caused by the U.S. military in Afghanistan," Daniel Ginsberg-Jaeckle, a member of SDS in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. "For eight years this occupation has brought nothing but misery, poverty and suffering to the Afghan people. The U.S. and NATO need to get out now." 

The protests come on the heels of the largest loss of life for U.S. occupation forces in a year. On Oct. 4, anti-occupation fighters in Afghanistan killed nine U.S. soldiers in a series of attacks. So far, 869 U.S. troops died in Afghanistan since the occupation began in 2001 - with over a quarter of those killed in the past ten months alone. There are 4000 U.S. wounded. 

U.S. and NATO occupation forces do not keep track of civilian casualties, but many estimate that U.S. air strikes and gunfire have killed tens of thousands of Afghans. Just last month, U.S. air strikes killed over 90 Afghan civilians in the northern village of Omar Kheil. A similar strike in Farah province on May 4 this year killed 147 civilians. 

"The U.S. occupation is a disaster for Afghanistan, just like it is for Iraq. The Afghan people will never have stability and peace until the U.S. leaves," said Stephanie Taylor, a member of SDS at the University of Minnesota.

The organizers of the Oct. 7 protests note that the war and occupation of Afghanistan is linked to U.S. interests in controlling strategic energy resources and markets in central Asia. Jenae Stainer, an SDS organizer in Tuscaloosa, Alabama explains, "Our government wants to keep us ignorant about the real reasons and true costs of war both at home and in Afghanistan. That is why organizing to stop the war is so important." 

Organizers of the Oct 7 actions say they will continue to initiate demonstrations to protest the occupation of Afghanistan until all U.S. and NATO forces leave the country. "We will keep speaking out and organizing to support the people of Afghanistan in their struggle for independence from U.S. occupation," said Ginsberg-Jaeckle. "We will continue to demand that the U.S. government stop spending money on war and occupation and fund people's needs here at home, including education, housing, jobs and health care."