Afghan Women Speak: U.S. Occupation and the Taliban

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{Editors note by Ann Montague: Organizations like the Feminist Majority Foundation collaborated with the Bush administration in calling for the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan as a “coalition of hope” for Afghan women. This was of course led by Democratic Party women politicians like Senator Hillary Clinton, always a supporter of U.S. wars and interventions. The oldest political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women’s rights in Afghanistan since 1977 has a different view. Below we reprint a recent statement from the Revolutionary Association of The Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) about the U.S. occupation and the resurgence of the Taliban.} Photo: Shamsia Hassani

The U.S. War On Terrorism removed the Taliban in 2001, but religious fundamentalism remains – the cause of our misery. By reinstating the war lords in power, the U.S. administration replaced one fundamentalist regime with another. The Northern Alliance criminal leaders are as brutal and misogynist as the Taliban. Our mission is to work for an independent, free, democratic and secular Afghanistan.

In the last 20 years, our demand for the end to the U.S./NATO occupation included taking their Islamic fundamentalists and technocrats with them. Let our people decide our own fate. This occupation only resulted in bloodshed, destruction and chaos. They turned our country into the most corrupt, insecure, drug-mafia and dangerous place, especially for women.

From the beginning we could predict the outcome. On the first day of the U.S. occupation RAWA declared October 11th, 2001 – ‘The continuation of attacks and the increase of innocent victims not only gives an excuse to the Taliban, but will cause empowerment of the fundamentalist forces in the region.’

It is a joke to say values like ‘women’s rights, democracy, and nation building’ were ever a part of the U.S./NATO aims in Afghanistan. It established instability in the region.

We believe the U.S. was defeated by its own weakness. Their policy makers were forced to withdraw to focus on internal domestic issues. The second reason is the expensive war had taken trillions of taxpayer money.

The Taliban, despite their pretense will be Islamic fundamentalists, misogynist, inhuman, barbaric, reactionary, anti-democratic.

The United States and the West have tried for 20 years to keep Afghanistan a consumer country and hindered the growth of industry. This created a wave of unemployment and poverty paving the way for recruitment of the puppet government, the Taliban and the growth of opium production. There was unprecedented corruption in the military. The Generals even channeled millions of dollars they cut from soldiers fighting on the front lines into their own bank accounts. Growing corruption, injustice, unemployment, insecurity, fraud, vast poverty provided a ground for the reemergence of the Taliban.

It is human nature to resist, women will not be shackled. The next morning after the Taliban entered the capitol a group of young, courageous women painted graffiti on the walls of Kabul, “Down With The Taliban”. Our women are politically conscious, they will no longer live under the burqa, as they did 20 years ago. We will continue our struggle while finding smart ways to stay safe.

We think that the inhuman U.S. military empire is not only the enemy of the Afghan people but the biggest threat to world peace and stability. It is the duty of all peace loving, progressive, leftists and justice loving individuals and groups to intensify their fight against the brutal war mongers in the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill.

Replacing the rotten system with a just and humane one will not only liberate millions of poor and oppressed American people but will have a lasting effect on every corner of the world. We will raise our voice louder and continue resistance and fight for secular democracy and human rights!”

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