Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

Claiming ‘victory’ in Afghanistan: What is the real story?

Posted by strattof on August 29, 2008

Claiming ‘victory’ in Afghanistan: What is the real story?


Earlier this month, US/NATO coalition officials, including Canadians, claimed victory in what they hailed as “the biggest show of force” so far this year.  Operation Timis Preem supposedly struck a “major blow” and served as a “final show of force” before the traditional end of the Afghan fighting season.  But here is some of what the “show of force” doesn’t show:



According to Canadian Lt.-General Andrew Leslie, the number of “angry young men” created for every Afghan killed by US/NATO forces.


The number of aid workers killed in Afghanistan so far this year, compared to 15 last year.  The number of districts too dangerous for aid work is increasing.


The percentage increase in insurgent attacks for the first half of this year, compared to the same time last year.  This increase reflects over 2066 attacks.


The percentage of pledged aid to Afghanistan actually delivered by donor countries; of $25 billion promised since 2001, only $15 billion has been delivered; furthermore, 40% of the aid spent is funneled back to the donor countries through corporate profits, consultant salaries, and other costs.


The number of millions of dollars insurgents are expected to reap from this year’s opium harvest, despite a 19% drop in opium poppy cultivation due to drought and anti-drug campaigns.


The number of Canadian soldiers who have died so far in Afghanistan.


The number of additional Canadian troops recently announced for Afghanistan, bringing Canada’s contingent to 2,700.


The number of families displaced by fighting in June & July of this year in Kandahar province, where Canadian troops are stationed.  They join the over 100,000 Afghans currently displaced by combat, drought or natural disasters.


The minimum number of Afghan civilians killed so far this year: the real number may be over 1,000.  According to the UN, some 90 more were killed in a US-led attack last week.  This would bring the US/NATO share of civilian deaths to 30%, with insurgents accounting for the other 70%.


The minimum number of Afghan civilians killed since the war started in late 2001.


The total number of US/NATO troops now in Afghanistan.


The number of dollars recently announced for US “terrorism experts” to teach Canadian troops how to “better” wage the counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan. 

731 million

The number of dollars spent on Afghan development aid by Canada so far; or about 1 dollar spent on peace for every 10 spent on war-fighting.

7.5 billion

The total number of dollars committed to Canada’s Afghanistan war so far.


This “figure” shows the only real hope for progress.

“You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb the world to peace.”                                                                                                                                                  –Michael Franti



Sources: ACBAR, Angus-Reid Surveys; Associated Press; The US Senate Armed Services Committee; The Globe & Mail; The National Post; NATO; NPR; The Ottawa Citizen; Oxfam; The Telegraph; The Toronto Star; the United Nations.




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