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Massacre of 16 Civilians Spurs Calls for US Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Afghans are furious at the US military after an Army sergeant killed 16 civilians, 9 of them children.

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AMY GOODMAN: We—Hakim, are you still there? We’ll try to get him back on, speaking to us from Kabul. He is coordinator for Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. But Kathy Kelly of—with Voices for Creative Nonviolence, speaking to us from Chicago, but just back from Afghanistan, if you could—let’s see if we have Hakim on again. Hakim?


AMY GOODMAN: Ah, OK. Continue with what you were saying.

HAKIM: I don’t know where I was lost, but I wanted to say that the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers would call the ordinary people of the United States and Afghanistan to debate the U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement, which is a deal between governments to maintain U.S. military forces long term. And that will result in perpetual war, more such killing sprees, and possibly an increase in terrorism and terrorist acts like September 11th. What we need to do is to debate, in this time of economic crisis, how government can resolve this conflict in Afghanistan. And we feel that, surely, governments need to resolve this conflict through diplomacy and move away from the failed military strategy that has resulted in all that we are witnessing today.

AMY GOODMAN: Hakim, why do you choose not to use your real name?

HAKIM: I have been changed—my life has been changed in that sense by Afghans, and so my name has changed along with my—a change of my life. Afghans have been demonized as violent terrorists, and this is not the case. The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, for sure, are committed to a nonviolent way. And many people in Afghanistan want to get this message out to the rest of the world, that we want peace and we are tired of war. For that reason, and for the reason that it is probably better for—in terms of security to go by a name that they are familiar with, I have changed it to—my name to Hakim.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Hakim, I want to thank you for being with us. We’re going to go to break, and then we’re going to continue with Kathy Kelly in Chicago. We’re talking about this aftermath of the killings of 16 Afghan civilians. A U.S. soldier has turned himself in for doing this. After that, we’re going to be talking about the first anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. More than 20,000 people died after the tsunami. Stay with us.


Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now! .

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