MAPW says: Time to talk troop withdrawal

Why aren’t Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott debating Australia’s military contribution in Afghanistan?

Australia’s biggest current defence deployment is to Afghanistan, yet as Dutch troops are moving out, neither the ALP nor the Liberal Party has yet released their official foreign affairs policy in the campaign. None of their policy statements show any indication of a real exit strategy from Afghanistan.
 
Dr Bill Williams, President of MAPW, today called for the major parties to get serious about Australia’s troop commitments:  ‘Why are Liberal and Labour marching in lockstep? Their policies will determine the fates of our servicemen and -women in the increasingly violent conflict in Afghanistan over the next three years. Let’s hear what they are going to do.’
 
A Lowy Institute poll this earlier year found that 54% of respondents believed that Australia “should not continue to be militarily involved in Afghanistan”, an increase of 3% compared to 2009.
 
‘This is an increasingly deaidly and increasingly unpopular war: allied casualties are at an all-time high,’ said Dr Williams. ‘It’s time to downsize the military commitment and get down to talking peace with all parties in Afghanistan’.
 
MAPW proposes withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and a strategy of nation building through development aid and projects that foster democratic government to promote the peace and security agenda.
 
‘We must respect the right and capacity of Afghans themselves to sort out what happens next, and supporting them constructively in this. This means supporting an internal peace process in which all parties are involved, including the Taliban’
 
Statement by Dr Bill Williams
President, Medical Association for Prevention of War