Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group held a vigil at the cenotaph opposite Rochdale Town Hall on Tuesday night (8 December 2009). They were mourning the deaths of British soldiers in Afghanistan, including, Adam Drane, the 100th British soldier to be killed there, since 1 January 200 and the deaths of an estimated 300,000 Afghan civilians killed since the NATO invasion in 2001. Members of the group read the names of all 100 British troops killed in Afghanistan since 1 January 2009 and the names of 100 of the Afghan civilians. The latter group included many children, such as Malama aged 10 years, Fatima aged 8 years, Hassana aged 6 years, Zahida aged 5 years, Royana and Ullah aged 3 years and Noora Ali and Sayed Rahman; all of whom were killed in NATO air-strikes.The group observed periods of silence for all the dead and called for British troops to be brought home from Afghanistan.
On behalf of the Peace Group, Philip Gilligan said,
"This is a day which we hoped would never come, but while Gordon Brown
continues to send our young men and women to Afghanistan to kill and be
killed in NATO's disastrous and futile war, it was inevitable that it would
arrive. Meanwhile, more and more Afghan civilians are being killed and
more and more people in Britain are calling for our troops to be brought
home. The latest poll by the Rochdale Observer showed that more than two
thirds of people in our town think that the decision to send more troops to
Afghanistan is wrong. We must remember all the dead and continue to
demand that the troops are brought home. The killing must stop."