Joya is starting on a speaking tour of Canada, underlining the need to support democratic groups in Afghanistan

The Canadian Press, October 6, 2010

Malalai Joya

OTTAWA - Malalai Joya, a rights activist and former Afghan MP, says U.S. President Barack Obama's policies in Afghanistan are as bad as those of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

She says Obama's surge of troops into her country has made things worse for ordinary Afghans.

Joya says Canada has been following the wrong policy for nine years, going along with what she calls American war crimes.

She says that while Canada has long stressed the need to protect human rights, especially for women, the NATO-led war hasn't helped women.

It's much the same message she brought on a visit to Canada a year ago.

Joya is starting on a speaking tour of Canada, underlining the need to support democratic groups in Afghanistan while ending what she calls the NATO occupation.

She also dismisses the latest Afghan election as a sham.

"I was in Canada about one year ago," she said. "I talked about the ongoing tragedy of Afghanistan and the game the U.S. and its allies play with the destiny of my suffering nation.

"After one year I am sorry that I don't have anything positive and hopeful to present to you."

She said Obama's decision to send in more troops won't work.

"Democracy never comes by occupation forces, democracy never comes by cluster bombs."

The only hope, she said, is home-grown democracy driven by the Afghans themselves.