K NEWS – British soldier protests Afghan war

Afghan soldier faces court martial

By Aleisha Scott, Press Association

“My fellow soldiers have become a tool of American foreign policy”

A soldier facing a court martial for refusing to serve in Afghanistan urged Prime Minister Gordon Brown Thursday to withdraw Britain’s troops, saying they had become “a tool of American foreign policy.” Delivering a letter to Brown’s Downing Street office, Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, 27, said the NATO-led mission there was bringing “death and devastation” to the Afghan people and would ultimately fail.

“It is my primary concern that the courage and tenacity of my fellow soldiers has become a tool of American foreign policy,” he wrote.

“I believe this unethical short-changing of such proud men and women has caused immeasurable suffering not only to families of British service personnel who have been killed and injured, but also to the noble people of Afghanistan.” The protest came as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed that British forces in Afghanistan had suffered their highest casualty rate since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attacks. In his letter Glenton said: “The war in Afghanistan is not reducing the terrorist risk, far from improving Afghan lives it is bringing death and devastation to their country. Britain has no business there.”

Speaking to reporters afterwards, the soldier — who faces a court martial for desertion next week, and could be jailed for up to two years — explained why he would not return to Afghanistan.

“I don’t believe our cause is just. I think it’s adversely affecting the Afghan people as well as the British army and their families. I think it has become part of the problem rather than the solution.”

Earlier this week an opinion poll indicated that more than half of Britons think military forces in Afghanistan cannot win and troops should be withdrawn immediately. Fifty eight percent see the offensive against Taliban Mujahideen in Afghanistan as “unwinnable”, and 52 percent want troops out, according to the ComRes survey published in the Independent newspaper Tuesday.

Source: Pakistan News, August 3, 2009

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