The following statement was recently sent out by the Steering Committee of Historians Against the War
1. Whatever views we hold on the initial US military intervention in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the US, it is now clear that the US/NATO presence in this country has become an occupation, increasingly resented and opposed by large sections of the population.
2. Despite the relief that met removal of the totalitarian Taliban government by US and NATO forces, the new government, chosen under the direction of the Bush administration, has distanced itself from the people, is rent with corruption, and barely governs anything. Outside of Kabul, warlords and criminal elements operate with impunity, the opium trade grows, violence — including violence by the occupation forces — proliferates, and the Taliban is resurgent.
3. The support for fundamentalist warlords and the corrupt Karzai regime demonstrate that the purpose of US policy in Afghanistan is not to support the self-determination of the Afghan people, but to extend the bankrupt global war against terror deeper into Central Asia, and to strengthen US geopolitical power in this region. The US/NATO war on Afghanistan is not a "good war" in contrast to the "bad war" on Iraq.
4. The current consensus in higher political circles, including both major party candidates for president, that the war in Afghanistan must be escalated will only deepen the regional crisis and suffering of the Afghan people. The historical experience of other outside powers trying to control Afghanistan (most spectacularly, the Soviet Union from 1979 to 1989, invading from next door over a wide common border) suggests that even a greatly escalated US/NATO war effort will only multiply the deaths and the suffering.
5. The US and NATO should immediately begin withdrawing their military and political assets from Afghanistan so that the Afghan people can have room to decide their own future. Continued US/NATO action in the country is a large part of the problem and cannot be the solution.
6. We call for regional agreement among Afghanistan’s neighbors to guarantee Afghan stability, to preserve the ethnic and religious diversity of the country, to assure the full participation of women in social life, and to provide space for all of the people of Afghanistan to fully exercise their right to self-determination.