Withdraw Irish Soldiers from Afghanistan before it’s too Late

Irish soldiers serving with NATO/ISAF forces in Afghanistan are increasingly in danger of being killed by Afghan soldiers, who are supposedly their allies. France is suspending its military operations in Afghanistan and may even withdraw from the NATO-led force after an Afghan soldier shot dead four French soldiers on 20 January 2012. Last December two French foreign legionnaires and one American were killed in similar shootings by Afghan soldiers. In 2009 an Afghan police officer shot and killed five British soldiers in Helmand.

It has subsequently emerged that the Afghan soldier responsible for the January 20 shooting was angry about a video that seemed to show US marines desecrating the bodies of Taliban insurgents.

A classified report quoted by the New York Times found that between May 2007 and May 2011 at least 58 Western soldiers were killed in 26 separate attacks by Afghan soldiers and police. These deaths of Western troops are in addition to those killed in action by Taliban and other insurgents. At least seven Irish army soldiers are serving with NATO in Afghanistan, as bomb disposal experts. They are as likely to be targeted for assassination by Afghan troops as other western soldiers.

Up to recently these Irish soldiers were considered to be reasonably safe as they operated mainly within NATO military bases, but several of these attacks have taken place within NATO bases. Ireland, as a self-declared neutral state, should not have soldiers participating in such wars. These Irish soldiers should be repatriated as soon as possible before they become victims of this unjustified war that the US and its allies have already lost.

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