A U.S. Army helicopter takes off from Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. DOD photo

A group representing the families of service members in Afghanistan plans to demonstrate Sunday against a possible increase in troop levels in what is already the longest-running war in United States history.

Representatives of Military Families Speak Out said they will gather at 4 p.m. near the office of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to demand that the United States withdraw all troops from Afghanistan and use diplomacy instead.

“The losses and injuries our families have already suffered from the ongoing wars in the Middle East have not been addressed and there is no end in sight for them,” said Pat Alviso, whose son has been deployed to Afghanistan for the sixth time. “We simply cannot ask our troops to make any more sacrifices than they already have.”

President Donald Trump met with his military advisers on Friday and indicated a decision had been made on a proposal to send as many as 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

The White House announced Sunday that Trump will address the nation Monday at 6 p.m. Pacific time from Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, to “provide an update on the path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia.”

Family members said many others have come home to struggles with substance abuse, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“To many Americans, these are just statistics, but these are our loved ones,” Military Families Speak Out representatives said.

U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack, and some 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed there. The United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to oust the Taliban, the Islamic group that ruled the Asian nation at the time and was accused of providing support to Osama bin-Laden and the al-Qaida terrorist network that carried out the 9/11 attacks.

The U.S. and its allies ousted the Taliban from power shortly thereafter and a new government was elected in 2004, but stubborn pockets of al-Qaida and Taliban forces have remained, and in recent years the ISIS terrorist network has been active in the country as well.

 

–City News Service

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