Progressive groups reject NATO's claims of progress for Afghanistan after 10 years of military occupation

Contact: Contact: Lisa Savage, CODEPINK (207) 399-7623
July 8th, 2012

National – CODEPINK joins other organizations in rejecting the absurd claim signed by NATO heads of state at their summit in Chicago in May 2012: “In the ten years of our partnership the lives of Afghan men, women and children, have improved significantly in terms of security, education, health care, economic opportunity and the assurance of rights and freedoms. There is more to be done, but we are resolved to work together to preserve the substantial progress we have made during the past decade.”

Moderate progress in the areas of women's representation in Parliament and local government, in primary education for girls, and in the training of health care providers -- particularly midwives – can be demonstrated. However, the rights for women guaranteed in the Afghan constitution are far from being effectively or consistently implemented, and security for all sectors of society is deplorable.

Afghan women still have an average life expectancy among the lowest in the world -- age 51 -- and 68% of their children suffer from malnutrition, according to UNICEF. President Karzai signed an edict permitting husbands to withhold food from their wives as a way of coercing them to have sex, and women rape victims are jailed for adultery.

The presence of foreign troops is the leading cause of ever-rising insurgency in Afghanistan. U.S. military leaders from Gen. David Petraeus to Lt. Col. Daniel Davis consistently state their conclusion that there is no military solution in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged in Senate hearings that ISAF forces pay protection money to Taliban forces in order to maintain supply lines, safeguarding convoys of trucks carrying fuel, water, and other resources needed to maintain military operations. The futility of a war conducted by funding ones own opposition is clear.  “The answer to what would happen if we leave is, look at the disaster if we stay,” wrote Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies.

CODEPINK members and their allies are calling on leaders at the United Nations and the U.S. Department of State to fulfill the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, providing for significant participation by women in all talks and negotiations on the transition of ISAF troops out of Afghanistan.

After ten years of military occupation, only the robust presence of women's voices at the table and in government will support a durable peace able to provide for the security and development needs of all Afghans.