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Draft: A Citizens' Proposal for Peace in Afghanistan

South Mountain Peace Action supports the following steps to improve the prospects for peace in Afghanistan and enable our troops to come home as soon as possible.

[Click each point for sources and documentation]

1. A Presidential Timetable for Withdrawal of US Troops

President Obama should issue a plan to carry out a timetable for the safe, orderly and expeditious redeployment of US armed forces from Afghanistan, as called for by House Resolution 5015 by Rep. James McGovern and by Senate Resolution S3197 by Senator Russ Feingold.

We urge consideration of the following steps, recommended by military and civilian experts, to improve the prospects for improved security, development and human rights, as we redeploy our troops from Afghanistan:

2. Redefine Our Mission in Afghanistan

The US should rebrand its mission in Afghanistan to carrying out the United Nations mandates which call for military and civilian assistance to help the Afghan people improve their security, rebuild their country and protect human rights, especially for women. The current emphasis on our mission as "defeating" Al Qaeda suggests a military victory, which virtually everyone, including General Petraeus, agrees is impossible.

3. Avoid Civilian Casualties and Minimize Military Casualties

The US should strengthen its policy of avoiding civilian casualties by stopping drone attacks which Colonel David Kilcullen says victimize innocents and are counterproductive and which the ACLU says are violations of US Constitution and international law. We should also prioritize military actions to minimize our military casualties as well as civilian casualties. Securing urban areas instead of attacking Taliban strongholds, is a priority suggested by Gilles Dorronsoro of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

4. Press Pakistan to End its Safe Haven and Weapons Flow to the Taliban

The US should continue to press Pakistan to eliminate the safe haven, the flow of weapons and any other form of support for the Taliban from its territory.

5. Negotiate With the Taliban but Require Acceptance of Human Rights, Especially for Women

The US should support Afghan Government efforts to negotiate with the Taliban on reconciliation and reintegration, but this should be conditioned on respect for basic human rights, especially for women, as recommended by Human Rights Watch in its July 2010 report on Afghanistan. Negotiations with the Taliban on power-sharing, as proposed by Gilles Dorronsoro, also protecting human rights, especially for women, should also be considered.

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