Make every effort to achieve peace in Afghanistan
Seven years have elapsed since the United States started its war of retaliation against Afghanistan. With turmoil growing in the Afghan situation, there is a widespread view in the United Nations and countries that keep ground troops there that military means cannot resolve the conflict.
Prime Minister Aso Taro is calling for the Diet to discuss a bill to extend the so-called anti-terrorism special measures law in order to continue to deploy the Maritime Self-Defense Force in refueling operations for U.S. warships in the Indian Ocean. He said, "Japan's withdrawal from activities as a member of the international community cannot be an option." The Democratic Party has said it supports a vote on the bill.
The prime minister, who looks at the world affairs from the U.S. point of view, is not interested in peace efforts.
Calls for political settlement
Faced with the "return" to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the U.S. Bush administration is preparing to reinforce U.S. forces at the request of its commanders. It plans to send about 10,000 troops to be added to about 32,000 already deployed. The two major U.S. presidential candidates, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, are calling for military reinforcement and further confrontation.
However, efforts to achieve a military "solution" will inevitably spur a vicious and unending cycle of military operations and terror attacks, which will force the Afghan people to pay larger costs. It is hardly possible to envisage peace making, much less a "victory", under such circumstances. The United States finds itself in a serious dilemma.
In fact, even some U.S. military leaders doubt whether the pursuit of a military solution is a viable option. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen in September stated that he is not convinced that the U.S.-led force is winning the war in Afghanistan. Army General David McKiernan, the NATO force (ISAF) commander, said, "As a military officer, I've said that, ultimately, the solution in Afghanistan is going to be a political solution, not a military solution."
Britain has so far joined with the United States in the military operations, but the need to seek a political solution is now being discussed in the country.
Commander Mark Carlton-Smith of the British Task Force, who just completed six months of duty in Afghanistan, said that victory cannot be achieved in Afghanistan. Stressing that military victory over the Taliban was "neither feasible nor supportable," he said that the Taliban's participation in talks for political solution can pave the way for the solution of the whole problem.
British ambassador to Afghanistan Sherard Cowper-Coles reportedly gave his personal view that the U.S. strategy is failing and that the very presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan is the problem. British newspapers report that this is a view widely shared in the British government and military.
Kai Eide, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, on October 6 stressed the importance of negotiations between the parties, saying, "We all know that we cannot win it militarily. It has to be won through political means."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has announced that he made a call on the Taliban to sit at the negotiating table with help from Saudi Arabia. While there has been no progress in this direction due to the worsening military situation, it is clear that a peace effort through negotiations can pave the way for a solution to the conflict.
Stop the sending of SDF
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in the House of Representatives Plenary Session pointed out clearly that the war has been unable to end terrorism, and demanded that the government give up on the idea of sending the SDF. In the first place, SDF dispatches abroad are unconstitutional. Japan's attempt to strengthen military responses also goes against international demands calling for a true solution to the conflict.
- Akahata editorial, October 9, 2008