Christian peacemakers to call for Afghan troop withdrawals

By staff writers
5 Oct 2007

Christian Peacemaker Teams UK, the London Catholic Worker, the Oxford Catholic Worker and Voices UK are organising a peace walk through London on Sunday 7 October 2007 to mark the sixth anniversary of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

The walk will highlight the call for an end to the bombing of Afghanistan and the withdrawal of British troops. Those taking part are being encouraged to wear black or white clothing and symbols.

The peace walkers will meet at 10am on Sunday at St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, 78 Bishopsgate, EC2, near the Bank and Liverpool Street underground stations.

The Centre was relaunched after being partially destroyed by an IRA bomb during the armed group's London campaign during 'the troubles' in Northern Ireland. Now it is a place of peacemaking and hope.

Protesters say the need for change is highlighted by the story of Agah Lalai, whose wife, father, grandfather, grandmother, three brothers, and four sisters were killed by a US air strike earlier this year, on 8 May 2007. "They destroyed my family, my home, my life. I have nothing left", she declared.

According to the UN mission in Afghanistan, more Afghan civilians have died at the hands of US/NATO forces in the first six months of this year than were killed by the Taliban.

In one single incident this June, 25 civilians - including nine women and three young children - were killed by a bombing raid called in by British forces, one of just hundreds of such airstrikes in recent months.

In a March poll 2007, 53 per cent of the British public said that all British troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan 'more or less immediately'. Others argue for an ordered and phased withdrawal.

This May the upper house of the Afghan Parliament passed a motion calling for a military cease-fire and a date to be set for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

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The London peace walk is being organised by Christian Peacemaker Teams UK, the London Catholic Worker, the Oxford Catholic Worker and Voices UK (http://www.voicesuk.org). For more information, contact 0845 458 2564.

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