As our Executive Committee met on 24th October, people were marching in London to call for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan. The committee minuted:
We unite with others in expressing our deep distress and disquiet at the continuing loss of life, amongst Afghans and NATO personnel, in Afghanistan. The displacement of people and the social and psychological harm – on top of physical injury – that arises from armed conflict such as this will have long-term damaging consequences for all concerned.
We urge the UK government to do all it can to bring to a cessation its involvement in this violent conflict; a conflict which many analysts now conclude is unwinnable and is worsening - rather than contributing to - global peace and security. We recognise that the UK does have a commitment to supporting reconstruction in the region and support this intent. The security needed to allow such reconstruction, however, can surely only be sustainable when it has come from dialogue and reconciliation rather than from the barrel of a gun.
We know that our government now faces very great dilemmas in finding a way forward and that this will not be easy or simple. We call for the urgent withdrawal of British and other foreign troops from Afghanistan, allowing the people of that country to find their own way of building a peaceful, just and secure society.
24th October 2009