"The Afghan people want the warlords to be disarmed"

il manifesto, 8th december 2004
Giuliana Sgrena - Rome

On the day of the installation of Hamid Karzai, Malalai Joya, the director of an NGO, famous for having challenged the "criminal" friends of the US, speaks

Yesterday in Kabul, three years after the collapse of the Taleban regime, Hamid Karzai, strongly protected by security measures, swore on the Quran to respect the sacred religion of Islam, to watch over the fulfilment of the Constitution, to safeguard the independence, the sovereignty and the integrity of Afghanistan. Also the two vices swore with Karzai (Pashtoon): Ahmed Zia Massud (Tajik) and Mohammed Karim Khalili (Hazara). The presence of the American vice-president, Dick Cheney, and of the American secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld, Karzai's two 'godfathers', stood out among the numerous delegations which participated to the ceremony. The US imposed and have kept Karzai in power since the fall of the Talibans and also in the last elections on 9th of October, that Bush wanted to show the world the success of his operation in Afghanistan to balance the Iraqi disaster. But can we really speak about a success of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and about a true improvement of the situation?

"The American war on terrorism will never be successful because it hides other purposes. Up to now this war hasn't brought anything positive to the people of Afghanistan or of Iraq, but only the death of thousands of innocent people in both the countries" says Malalai Joya, a young Afghan woman (26 years old) who manages the Organisation of Promoting Afghan Women's Capabilities (OPAWC), in Farah, in the west of Afghanistan. Malali has become famous for daring to openly challenge the warlords during the Loya Jirga in December 2003, where she was representing Farah province, calling them the 'criminals' who have destroyed the country. From that moment she is accused of being an "infidel" and a "communist", for which she could be condemned to capital punishment.

At first she was in Iran and Pakistan as a refugee with her family, in 1998 she returned to Afghanistan to teach in the underground schools for girls in Herat. It was at the time of the Taliban.

"Who supported the Taliban?" We ask Malalai "The US until, after five years, when the Taliban were not in agreement with Bush anymore, the US decided to eliminate them".

Although we cannot talk about free elections in Afghanistan, Karzai has obtained the majority of votes.

"The votes for Karzai are votes against the warlords, from whom he detached himself before the elections. For this reason the people voted for him. For three years Karzai compromised with the fundamentalists and did nothing for the people. But this is a vote of hope, hope that there will be no more compromising, hope that the war lords will be disarmed. If Karzai will not respect this will of the people, the people will turn against him, and there will be a civil war. The situation in Afghanistan will improve only when the terrorists will be disarmed - the US friends terrorists and the anti US terrorists - and when they will be removed from the political scene ".

Will the US allow this?

"Karzai must accept the risk. Bush's policy needs these criminals, when he removed the Taliban he replaced them with the Northern Alliance. The friends of the US have changed their jacket but not their mentality: they are not different in their ideas. The Americans are making the same unforgivable mistake as in the '80s, when they armed the most disgusting criminals, who then gave birth to Osama Bin Laden and to the Taliban, as a result of which came the tragedy of 11th September, the most horrible act of terrorism. Crimes have been committed in the name of Islam for 25 years, for this reason the Afghan people now support secularism".

Malalai Joya is in Italy where, a few days ago, she received the international prize "Woman of the year 2004" from the Regional Council of Valle d'Aosta. The prize is dedicated to all Afghan women who are struggling for their rights and for democracy. The condition of women in Afghanistan is still terrible, Malali, for example, tells us about the cases of female suicide, with an atrocious death: the women cover themselves with oil and set fire to themselves. We have reports of 100 cases in Farah and 200 in Herat in a year. And then the cases of kidnapping and raping of women and girls.

The projects of OPAWC are dedicated to women (education, health, and training).

For information:

Email: mj_hamoon@yahoo.com

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