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A Citizens' Proposal for Peace in Afghanistan
by SMPA chair Paul Surovell

[August 2010] The following steps are proposed to improve the prospects for peace in Afghanistan and to enable our troops to come home as soon as possible.

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 all US armed forces from Afghanistan along the lines of our withdrawal timetable from Iraq.

The following steps should be considered to improve 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 press Pakistan harder to eliminate the assistance, flow of arms and safe haven the Taliban receives from Pakistan. We should use all diplomatic, political and financial levers to accomplish this and we should offer our assistance.

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.


For additional background information on the War in Afghanistan, click the following links:

Who Are the Taliban Today? Q&A with Gilles Dorronsoro

Women Today in Taliban-Controlled Areas: Human Rights Watch Report July 2010

Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies Report on Women in Afghanistan

US Casualties and Cost of the War in Afghanistan

Opinion Polls of Afghans and Americans

Letter of Resignation of Captain Matthew Hoh

US Economic Assistance to Afghanistan

US Goals in Afghanistan Are Similar to Soviets in 1980s

How the US supported the rise of extreme Islamic groups
in Afghanistan, including Al Qaeda and the Taliban

Origins of the Taliban

Taliban Violence: Murder, Mutilation and Terror

Taliban Decrees on Women and Culture in 1996.

Taliban Destruction of Buddha Monuments in 2001;

Carnage and Treachery in Afghan Civil War 1997-98

Taliban Regroups After US Invades in 2001

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