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August 9 2007 Picket Action
Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan!
Independent Public Inquiry into the Canadian War Drive in Afghanistan!

Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center

Picket Action at the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center

Reading the MAWO Statement for the Picket Action

Max Tennant, UVIC Students Against War member speaks on the impact of the occupation on students and youth

Picketers march in a line in front of Recruitment Center

Shakeel Lochan, MAWO Organizer speaking against the occupation to passers-by on the streets

MAWO Statement to the Press
August 9th, 2007

Vancouver, BC – We are gathered here in front of the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center on August 9th 2007 to continue our opposition to the Canada/NATO ongoing brutal occupation of Afghanistan and to demand “Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan NOW!”. In response to the rocketing death toll for Afghan people because of the occupation and climbing number of deaths of Canadian this picket action is also bolstered in strength by a picket action called for tomorrow, Friday August 10th by the Victoria Canada Out of Afghanistan Campaign. These pickets will confront both of BC’s Army recruitment centers in just two days.

While Canada's death toll in the occupation of Afghanistan uncomfortably sits at 66, Afghan deaths soar, as only from January 2007 until now over 600 Afghan civilians have been killed. As regular peace-loving, humanist people in Canada , we must ask: What has the impact of Canada/NATO war and occupation in Afghanistan really been? Why after 6 years of US/Canada/NATO occupation the living situation in Afghanistan has not been improved but deteriorated?

To date:

- More than 6.5 million Afghans currently face malnutrition and starvation

- because of this cruel and inhuman occupation 1 in 4 children, mainly aged 7 - 14 are forced to work to survive

- only 3.1 million Afghan children are currently registered in schools – even under the Taliban government this figure was at 5 million – according to a report by Oxfam

- Afghanistan now has the 3rd highest infant mortality rate

- 1 women dies every 28 minutes from pregnancy related causes

If Afghanistan is occupied under intentions of “bringing democracy”, “liberating women”, why under presence and occupation of foreign troops has Afghanistan become the world's biggest producer of opium according to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC)?

If Canadian forces are ringing freedom throughout the country, why do all basic indicators of quality of human life ring out that Afghan people are now facing a human crisis of epic proportions?

This is because the occupation of Afghanistan brings “freedom” by guns, tanks, armoured vehicles and helicopter fire – this is not a genuine freedom for Afghan people from oppression, but foreign imposed freedom for Canadian, US and European corporation to plunder and profit from this misery.

In the last 6 months, hundreds of Afghans have been killed by midnight NATO air strikes on homes and entire villages, killing women, children, men and elders. The Afghan resistance has become so strong that the occupiers’ only policy to deal with this opposition is to bomb and raid the site of every attack on the foreign forces hours later, under cover of darkness.Are not these NATO air-strikes, mass civilian killings terrorism against the people of Afghanistan?

The Taliban and other anti-government groups in Afghanistan have gained public support due to the Afghan government's failure to provide essential security and development, and have used the presence of warlords in the government to discredit President Karzai's administration and its international backers. Afghan people are actively denouncing and opposing this hypocrisy and so must we.

We stand here today, backed by millions of Afghan people, struggling for their lives, fighting, protesting and organizing to save Afghanistan from ruin as Canada’s Afghanistan looks more and more each day like the US’ Iraq. We urge all peace-loving, humanist and caring people in Canada to stand up against this brutality and join with us to call for an immediate end to the occupation and for an immediate independent public inquiry into Canada’s war drive in Afghanistan!