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A letter from a friend of mine, written to David Price

Received via email ...

After reading this story in Washington Post, I strongly feel that it is time to withdraw most (if not all) of our troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible!

The additional 20,000+ troops that President Obama deployed earlier this year were sent in to improve security to create the conditions for a fair and broadly supported general election. We now know that such an election did not take place. Voter participation was low and election fraud was widespread. In fact, it is not clear to us that Afghanistan is culturally ready for a democratic form of government.

This Washington Post story makes it clear that our troops are in the middle of a civil war that has been going on for almost 40 years between the educated elite living in the cities (roughly 20% of the population) and the remaining poor and uneducated living in rural areas. The Afghanistan Taliban are primarily interested in winning their internal civil war, and they would not be a military threat to any US interests we are aware of if our troops were not in the country.

The Bush administration reportedly had negotiations with the Taliban government in the Spring and Summer of 2001 for the purposes of western oil interests constructing a pipeline through Afghanistan to transport oil and gas from the former Soviet states bordering that country south to an ocean seaport. As part of any deal, the Taliban government was reported ready to turn over bin Laden and his Al Qaeda leadership. These negotiations broke down in July, 2001, so no deal was made regarding the pipeline and the Taliban continued to permit Al Qaeda training camps to function. The US originally invaded Afghanistan after 9/11 to seek out and capture or kill bin Laden and to destroy his Al Qaeda organization so that it could no longer organize attacks on the US and other countries. It is unclear if we also brought down the Taliban government and installed the Karzai government in oder to build the pipeline.

Regardless, bin Laden and the Al Qaeda leadership apparently escaped to the tribal areas of Pakistan, where we have been slowing eliminating that organization through covert CIA activities, so that now only about 100 hard-core members survive.

If ours and NATO military forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan and a Taliban government is again formed, it seems to us that the Taliban are just as likely to keep Al Qaeda out as to let them back in, as the "war supporters" believe. After all, they seem to be nationalists, and it is hard to believe that they would want continued covert CIA action against Al Qaeda on their home Afghanistan territory which endanger civilians. If the Bush administration could negotiate with the Afghan Taliban in 2001, then so can the Obama administration to seek some sort of agreement with the Karzai government for more secure conditions so that our military forces can be withdrawn.

Therefore, we urge you not to support any additional funding to send more troops to Afghanistan, and to join with House colleagues who are seeking to withdraw our forces and to end our military involvement in Afghanistan.

If it isn't clear to all those hawks by now

that Afghanistan is not going to be turned into a democratic Disneyland it never will be. There is no way our presence there is helping anything.