Karzai warned against compromise with criminals

The Frontier Post, January 5, 2005

ISLAMABAD: A young Afghan woman, who dared to speak against the atrocities committed by warlords, has warned President Hamid Karzai of losing the trust of Afghan people if he compromises with the criminals. Malalai Joya 26-year old Afghan peace activist, in an interview with The Frontier Post spoke candidly about the stronghold of warlords backed by Northern Alliance and pinpointed several areas, which are not allowing Hamid Karzai to establish his writ beyond Kabul.

She was given "Women of year Award 2004" last month by an Italian-based organization for her courage to challenge the warlords at a Liya Jirga held last year in the run up to the first ever presidential elections in Afghanistan .

Joya, an elected representative of Farah province in the Afghan Loya Jirga, was thrown out from the Jirga when she demanded trial against warlords for "crimes against humanity."

"I was given only one minute to speak in the Jirga but soon I was kicked out from there when urged President Hamid Karzai to clean his administration from the criminals" adding she said later she was brought back by UN officials, who was informed that she was thrown out only because she spoke against the warlords.

"That one minute changed my life. After the speech, I received threats from the warlords and even some of the Loya Jirga members termed me as Kefir (infidel) and prostitute," she said.

"They (warlords) destroyed my house. I have thrice changed my office in Kabul and now I am traveling with six security guards by wearing burqa," she maintained adding, "I am not afraid of being killed and my mission to work for my people will continue," she remarked.

Joya is also running a NGO for the welfare of women and children of Afghanistan. She said her organization even worked secretly during Taliban era to impart them education.

She established Organization of Promoting Afghan Women's Capabilities (OPAWC) established on 1999 for empowering Afghan women on the fields of education, healthcare and income-generating activities.

"There is no fundamental change in Afghanistan after the ouster of Taliban. The warlords are more brutal than the Taliban," Joya lamented,

"They (warlords) are continuing with their atrocities in Afghanistan and now they have a democratic face which is more dangerous," she continued.

In reply to a question, she was of the view President Hamid Karzai was capable of taking action against these warlords but if he wanted to do so. She said. "98 percent people of Afghanistan are against these warlords and they voted to Karzai that he would take action against them."

Unfortunately, she observed, the Karzai was also contained such people, who had been involved in crimes against Afghans.

She even went on to name some of them that include Dr Abdullah Abdullahc Gulbadin Hikmatyar, Ahmed Zia Masood, and Abdul Rashid Dostum, Karim Khalili, Burhanuddin Rabbani, Abdul Sayyaf and Younis Qanooni.

"When I say these people are dangerous it has certain reasons .look why Hamid Karzai has foreign security guards because he knows who hold the real power," she pointed out.

"Hamid Karzai should tell the world particularly the United States about the influence of these warlords," she demanded.

It was the time when Karzai should eliminate such people from his administration as if they remained part of his government they would influence the forthcoming parliamentary polls, she warned.

About Pakistan's role in Afghan affairs, she expressed the apprehensions that Islamabad had stopped backing the members of defunct regime of Taliban.

"Every one knows what Pakistan did in the past. I don't know what's going on right now but I hope they would have changed their (Pakistan) policies towards Afghanistan."

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