Returning from my 10-day trip to Afghanistan, I pause. The United States has spent a quarter of a trillion dollars in 8 years of military action: what have we achieved? Most of the country is in worse condition, the bordering countries are less stable and death fills the air.
According to the United Nations, Afghanistan is 181 out of 182 countries in the world ranked for human development indices. Life expectancy has fallen to 43 years since the U.S. invasion. 40% of the population is unemployed and 42% live on less than $1/day.
CODEPINK went to Afghanistan to hear what the women there thought about the push for more troops. We spoke with journalists, doctors, activists, NGOs, members of government and average Afghan women. Most of the women do not want more troops: they need support to sustain their lives. They want the U.S. investment to reflect what is needed to bring peace. They need investment in the people of Afghanistan.
For eight years, the United States has pursued a policy that has clearly failed. We have exacerbated the poverty and suffering in Afghanistan, and they are no more safe than they were. American funds and initiatives continue to support a situation that fuels insurgency instead of a sustainable culture. In truth, ninety percent of U.S. funding to Afghanistan is used for military: only approximately 10% has been used for any kind of development.
Our vision for the future must focus on what Afghans want in their own nation, not so different from what we want for ourselves -- education, jobs, health care, infrastructure and security. Afghan women want us to send doctors, teachers, engineers, and business leaders, not more troops.
Here, Member of Parliament and gynecologist Dr. Roshanak Wardak speaks about the situation in her province. As people who care about sustainable development must do all we can to stop another surge. We need to stand with the women of Afghanistan for development, not soldiers.