This Saturday thousands will march against the war in Afghanistan. This week we're posting extracts from The Case for Withdrawal published by Verso. This is the first of two extracts by Afghan MP Malalai Joya.

Malalai Joya, CounterFire, November 15, 2010

Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya

There is a famous saying: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Your international solidarity is key. As always, nations are separate from the policymakers. It is the governments that are committing these war crimes. They are betraying democracy, women’s rights, and human rights, and they are betraying the truth. The mainstream media is still trying to throw dust in the eyes of democratic people around the world.

You know what your government is doing now? They have put a soft name on the Taliban, these terrorist people, to bring them into power as well. Mullah Omar—this fascist man, this dinosaur—is not in power, and neither is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, but they want to bring them into power to complete the circle of warlordism and drug-lordism and terrorism in my country.

The US is occupying my country and making a military base there. They are not leaving my country because of their strategy and policies. They don’t care about the wishes of my people—how much they are fed up by the situation. Now, my people are sandwiched between two powerful enemies.

Democracy is the alternative for the future of Afghanistan. But there are still many risks for us. Those who tell the truth, those who stand and praise the war against injustice, insecurity, and occupation receive death threats. They get killed or they have to leave Afghanistan. The first casualty is the truth.

Let me say a few things about the role of troops first, since now Obama wants to surge with more troops in Afghanistan. His foreign policy is quite similar to the wrong policy of the Bush administration. It’s even worse—according to officials statistics, even more civilians have been killed than during the same time period under Bush.

The worst massacre in Afghanistan from September 11 till now happened during the presidency of Obama. In May 2009, in Farah Province, a bombing killed 150 civilians, most of them women and children. Th ey were even using white phosphorus and cluster bombs. On September 9, 2009, a bombing in Kunduz Province—you may have heard about this through the media—killed 200 civilians, and again, most of them women and children.

Then, after all these crimes, the White House says it apologizes, and Karzai’s government—this puppet regime—says thank you. That’s it. My people are so fed up that they want an end of the occupation—the end of this so-called war on terror—as soon as possible. As long as these troops are in Afghanistan, the worse the war will be. Through the mainstream media, they are telling you and democratic people around the world that civil war will happen if the US withdraws, but nobody is talking about civil war today.

Nine years ago, the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the banner of women’s rights. Today, the situation for women—half of the population of the country—is hell in most of the provinces. Killing a woman is as easy as killing a horse. A few days before I came here, in Sar-e Pol Province in the north of Afghanistan, a five-year-old girl was kidnapped and killed. The rape of women and kidnapping and acid attacks—all of this violence is increasing rapidly, even to historical levels. And all of these crimes are happening in the name of democracy, women’s rights, and human rights.

I’m saying that as long as these warlords are in power along with these occupation forces, there is no hope to make positive changes in the lives of the men and women of my country.

It’s not only women who are suffering. If I talked only about conditions for women, it would take all morning, but I wouldn’t even be finished. All of this shocking news that the media never gives to the people around the world. Women don’t even have a human life.

But today, women and men don’t have liberation. Millions of Afghans suff er from injustice, insecurity, corruption, joblessness, etc. Your government says that it sent troops there so that girls can go to school, but according to offi cial figures from the government, more than 600 schools have been closed. When the girls go to school, they throw acid in their faces.

I think education is important—very important in my country. I always say that it’s the key to our emancipation. But security is more important than food and water. They keep the situation dangerous like this so they can stay longer in Afghanistan, because of their strategy and policies.

To know more about the deep tragedy of Afghanistan: during these nine years, they changed my country to the capital of the center of the drug trade. Today, 93 percent of opium produced in the world is from Afghanistan. The brother of Hamid Karzai, Ahmed Wali Karzai, is a famous drug trafficker, as the New York Times recently wrote. Through the dirty business of opium, every year, $500 million goes into the pocket of the Taliban alone. And since 2001, there has been a 4,500 percent increase in opium. If the US government doesn’t stop this wrong policy, the drugs will find their way onto the streets of New York, and destroy the lives of youth here as well.

Another example of the catastrophic situation of my country is that in 2009, the United Nations human development index ranked Afghanistan 181st out of 182 countries. This is a country where the government received $36 billion over the past years, according to official reports. Where did that money go? Into pockets of warlords and drug lords—these criminals and misogynists.

Today, eighteen million people of my country live on less than $2 a day. Mothers in Herat and Ghor provinces are ready to sell their babies for $10 because they cannot feed them. And this is another example of many shocking examples that never made it into the mainstream media.

Excerpts from The Case for Withdrawal, ed. Nick Turse (Verso 2010)