Vigil planned in Wisbech by Stop the War group to commemorate 400 British soldiers who have died in Afghanistan

WISBECH and King’s Lynn Stop the War is to stage a candle-lit vigil for the 400 soldiers who have died in Afghanistan.

The vigil will be at the Thomas Clarkson memorial at 7 pm next Wednesday (March 21). Organisers say they will also be remembering the tens of thousands of Afghan people who have died in the ten years since foreign troops entered their country.

Jackie Mulhallen, convenor of KLStW, said: “We held a vigil at the Clarkson Memorial just over two years ago to mark the deaths of 100 British soldiers killed in Afghanistan in a single year.

“Over 100 more died in the following year. Now nearly 400 in total have died since this war began in 2001. We have sent numerous petitions from this area asking for the troops to come home and seen local support for the national demonstrations against the wars in the Middle East.

“Many people in Wisbech have relatives in Afghanistan and while they are proud of their courage, they see no point in the sacrifices being made not just by the soldiers but by their families. We are told that there is no money for people’s pensions and for services, yet the Government continues to spend it on war.”

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A statement by the Stop the War Coalition nationally said “The recent increase in attacks on NATO forces, including in high security areas of Kabul, show NATO is losing what grip it had of the country. The last few weeks have also seen the most widespread anti NATO demonstrations since the occupation began against the burning of the Koran on military bases.”

The organisation claims that “popular opposition to occupation is rising and negotiations with the Karzai government are deadlocked. A NATO announcement of immediate withdrawal is the only way to resolve this disastrous situation.”

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Members of KLStW will read poems and prayers for the dead, and welcome all who wish to join them.

Wisbech Stw member Sean Finlay said: “Not only have we the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan but Israel is making very belligerent threats against Iran.

“While we, in no way endorse the policies of the present regime in Tehran the idea of a surgical strike by Israel on perceived Nuclear targets in Iran is bound to lead to a ratchetting up of tensions in the region and may very well drag Israel’s friends including the UK into another bloody conflict. We need young people to live and work for the country not give their lives in needless and pointless conflicts”

Mr Finlay added: “Come on fellow Wisbechians let’s surround the memorial of this famous son of the town. He took on the establishment and won. So can we.”

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