Tuesday, February 23, 2010 The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Quaker peace and social justice organization, joins the nation in mourning the death of the 1,000th U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.
AFSC repeats its call that the war end immediately. The service committee urges the U.S. to announce an immediate cease-fire, pledge to stop sending additional troops, and negotiate a timeline for the removal of U.S. troops and control of permanent bases in Afghanistan.
AFSC is hosting vigils this week across the nation to mark the human cost of war and urges people of conscience to write their congressional representatives to end the war in Afghanistan.
In this, the ninth year of war, increased foreign troop levels and increasing national resistance to their presence has escalated the violence in Afghanistan, making life less safe both for the occupied and occupier. Almost one-third of the 1,000 deaths, 317, took place last year, and deaths this year are on a pace to record even more.
Before year’s end, the U.S. plans to complete the second phase of troop level increases announced in 2009. The additional troops would double the number of U.S. forces to 100,000. The department of defense estimates a cost of $1 million per soldier, per year, to deploy to Afghanistan – making our annual financial investment there $100 billion.
“Changing the nature of the U.S. investment in Afghanistan can bring stability. But it will require a long-term commitment to sustained and transparent financial and technical support. It is a path that can end the unnecessary deaths on all sides,” says Mary Zerkel, co-coordinator of AFSC’s Afghanistan initiative. “It is also the path to peace.”
NOTE: The American Friends Service Committee acknowledges that of today the icasualties.org website, has posted 930 casualties in and around Afghanistan. However the total number of casualties in Operation Enduring Freedom is 1,005. Operation Enduring Freedom is the official name used by the U.S. Department of Defense for the war in Afghanistan.
AFSC has used icasualties.org as its source of information on casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2004. AFSC mourns all loss of life, counted or uncounted.
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.