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GLOBAL EXCHANGE
Dear Supporter,

When we watched the US bombs explode over northern Afghanistan ten years ago on the little television in our conference room at Global Exchange in San Francisco we never dreamed that we’d still be at war in that country today.  Since October 6, 2001 there have been over 1800 US deaths (mostly soldiers) and many thousands of Afghan deaths, the war costs $6.7 billion a month and has left a wake of destruction in the country, instead of the schools, democracy, security and women’s freedoms we promised upon invasion. We’ve reached the point where it doesn’t make sense for our own economy or for the Afghan peace and security to stay the course. Ten years, with little gain for anyone is too long.

Early in 2002, Global Exchange, in response to the popular justification that we were at war “for the women of Afghanistan”, decided to see reality on the ground for ourselves. We convened a women’s delegation that included women who had left Afghanistan in the 1980s when the Soviet Union invaded, US women interested in women’s development and micro-finance, a concert producer and celebrity, all committed to spread the word after we got back. I represented Global Exchange.

Then there were no commercial flights into the country, so we got on a small UN plane loaded with equipment and UN officers sitting on small fold down seats and we held our breath as we descended between the steep mountains to the infamous runway in Kabul where Marla Ruzicka, our trip leader and friend on the ground, met us.  After landing, our bags were searched by candle light in a dark hangar before we emerged into the cold, high mountain air under the bluest sky and the brightest sun I’ve ever seen.

TT Nhu, a journalist from the Bay Area remembers: 

“Our trip, organized on the fly, coalesced very quickly. As the plane descended into Kabul Airport, Katrin Fakiri and I held hands. She was crying. She had not expected to see Kabul in her lifetime.  'All I want to do is to do something for my country,' she said. This is how her amazing journey in micro-finance began.

The city was just waking up from a long nightmare and the streets were empty. Only ancient yellow taxis and big white SUVS belonging to NGOs roamed the streets. Occasional women hurried along the streets filled with idling men.  Some soldiers in the U.S. Embassy across the way from the guest house unfurled a banner "We Love You Bianca!" to welcome our most famous traveler, Bianca Jagger."


Read more about the trip to Afghanistan on our People-to-People blog.

This October 2011 and on this challenging anniversary, you can do something for the people of Afghanistan:

Tell the Senate: It’s long past time to stop the wars and bring our troops home.

The Senate plans to mark the tenth anniversary of the war by appropriating another $118 Billion more for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2012. Outraged people are marking it by occupying Freedom Plaza in Washington DC.  Join them if you can!

Call your Senators today: 1-877-429-0678.  (toll-free number kindly provided by FCNL)

Tell them to vote NO on the FY 2012 "Defense" Appropriations Bill.
The "Defense" budget (total $630 billion) is too expensive – bring our war dollars home.

In solidarity,

Kirsten Moller
Founding Director

PS. Please join us and support our ongoing work for peace and justice. Learn about membership here.

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