‘Stop wars in Afghanistan, Libya’

25 May 2011 - 12:04pm
Press release

Charity issues alert to Cameron, Obama

The anti-poverty charity War on Want today called on UK prime minister David Cameron and United States president Barack Obama – meeting today in Downing Street – to cease hostilities in Afghanistan and Libya as more civilians died in the conflicts.

The charity spoke out after a roadside bomb killed 10 civilians and wounded up to 30 others in Kandahar province and at least three civilians died and 150 were injured when NATO launched its heaviest air raids on the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Greg Muttitt, campaigns and policy director at War on Want, said: “During ten years of war in Afghanistan, security has got steadily worse, and instability has spread to Pakistan. Bombing raids in Libya continue to harm civilians while trying to remove Gadaffi, under a UN resolution which does not permit them to do so. In both cases, the Westminster and Washington governments are serving their own military and economic interests while ordinary people pay with their lives.”

Last month War on Want handed to foreign secretary William Hague the names of thousands of people in Britain pressing for the immediate withdrawal of UK troops from Afghanistan and a negotiated settlement to guarantee self-determination, security and human rights for the Afghan people.

The move followed a report from the charity which condemned Britain’s use of drones and involvement in the illegal US detention and torture programme.

War on Want says Afghanistan has borne the brunt of decades of foreign intervention and conflict, and as a result is one of the world’s poorest countries, with life expectancy at 44.6 years the lowest anywhere.

It claims that much of US and British aid to Afghanistan has been "militarised", serving military and security interests rather than the interests of the Afghan people.

And alongside the US and British military in Afghanistan is a "shadow army" of private military and security companies, with the UK government from 2007-2009 spending £62.8 million on such firms.

In April campaigners from the charity took part in a demonstration organised by the Stop the War Coalition and CND against NATO bombing of Libya.

War on Want warned the escalation of western military force would cause more civilians’ deaths, as western powers became increasingly enmeshed in trying to shape the country in their interests.

It called for a halt to NATO-led intervention and for an immediate ceasefire to allow for a political resolution of the conflict.

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7324 5054 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

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