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This Article Originally Appeared in Mawo Newsletter #12

This February, 2,000 more Canadian soldiers will stomp down on the soil in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan. Walking in the footsteps of Canadian forces that first arrived during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, these soldiers will join over 1,000 Canadian troops currently engaged in a war against the people of Afghanistan.

“Operation Enduring Freedom” began over 4 years ago. The question now is just how much have the people of Afghanistan endured for the “freedom” delivered in the form of an occupation? Under Canadian guns Afghans face a 78% unemployment rate. 142 out of every 1,000 children die before reaching the age of 1 and a women dies during a pregnancy every 30 seconds. Life expectancy has dropped to just 42 years. Only 9% of girls who live outside Kabul attend school in what the UN found to be 2005’s “worst education system in the world”. Add to this the estimates of over 10,000 Afghans killed and wounded, and it is clear that the Canadian occupation of Afghanistan has only brought death, destruction and devastation.

MAWO’s call for an Independent Public Inquiry into Canada’s war drive in Afghanistan is an initial part of the struggle to open the question of Canada’s occupation of Afghanistan for debate within the communities of working, poor and oppressed people in Canada who are denied any voice in the government of Canada’s unanimous decision to enter this war drive.

Five Canadian soldiers have been killed in the occupation of Afghanistan. Attacks directly targetting Canadian forces have become commonplace since the new deployment began - including the attack of January 15th that resulted in the death of a prominent Canadian dilpomat and the serious wounding of three Canadian soldiers. With 2,000 more soldiers in combat come February, the crisis that will come with it will be clear for all to see.

The Afghan people have stood firmly in the way of the occupation. They demand the right to choose their future free of the soldiers and the occupation that is attempting to control or destroy their lives. As Canada escalates its investment in the occupation, it becomes more important that we as people in Canada echo the demands of the Afghan people. So longest and strongest we demand: