Socialist and Afghan leaders join forces for anti-war talks

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SCOTTISH Socialist Party leader Colin Fox and the leader of Scotland's Afghan community will call for the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan when they address a public meeting in Musselburgh next week.

Mr Fox and Mohammed Asif, chairman of the Scottish Afghan Society, will be joined on the platform at the Brunton Theatre on Tuesday by Joan Humphreys, whose grandson, Private Kevin Elliot, was killed in Helmand province in August while serving with the Black Watch.

Mr Fox, former Lothians MSP, said the latest opinion polls showed that 70 per cent of British people wanted the troops to be brought home.

He said: "Britain has been occupying Afghanistan for the past eight years. Tony Blair said the invasion in 2001 was in retaliation for the 9/11 bombing.

"We know now, as he knew then, that not one single Afghan was involved in those heinous attacks.

"Afghanistan has never threatened us yet some 50,000 innocent Afghan civilians have been killed as a result of our invasion."

Mr Asif added: "People in Scotland should be in no doubt that Afghans deeply resent the occupation of our country. Whilst we hate the Taleban, it must be our right to replace them as we see fit.

"The Karzai regime in Kabul installed by the Americans is hated and corrupt."