Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Questions over SDLP man's Afghan visit

I watched the leaders' debate on television last week and was surprised to hear that the SDLP had sent an elected representative to Afghanistan.

I've always opposed this brutal war even when the media tried to portray Afghanistan as 'the good war', as opposed to Iraq. I thought the SDLP opposed this war as well.

After watching the debate, I looked up the details of the case online. In September 2008, South Antrim SDLP MLA Thomas Burns made the visit to Afghanistan on what he called a 'fact-finding mission' to observe British military operations. The trip was paid for by the Ministry of Defence.

Through its participation in the occupation of Afghanistan, British military forces have contributed to the deaths of thousands of civilians. The British military machine, which is now unleashing misery in Afghanistan, is the same force that was behind Bloody Sunday, the Ballymurphy massacre, shoot-to-kill and collusion.

The role of British forces in Afghanistan, and in Ireland, raise serious questions as to why the SDLP sent an elected representatives to Afghanistan to observe military operations.

The SDLP has stated that it will support the British Labour Party in Westminster in the event of a hung Parliament - the party that readily joined the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Supporting British colonial operations in other countries, after our experience here, is not the action of an Irish nationalist party.

MARIE DOOLEY

Belfast

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