Afghan feminist opposes war

This video is about Afghan feminist Malalai Joya, saying: All foreign troops should get out of Afghanistan now.

By Malalai Joya, Afghan MP and campaigner for women’s rights in Afghanistan:

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Afghan MP says raise your voice for peace & justice

In 2005, I was the youngest person elected to the new Afghan parliament. Women like me, running for office, were held up as an example of how the war in Afghanistan had liberated women. But this democracy was a facade, and the so-called liberation a big lie.

On behalf of the long-suffering people of my country, I offer my heartfelt condolences to all in the UK who have lost their loved ones on the soil of Afghanistan. We share the grief of the mothers, fathers, wives, sons and daughters of the fallen. It is my view that these British casualties, like the many thousands of Afghan civilian dead, are victims of the unjust policies that the Nato countries have pursued under the leadership of the US government.

Almost eight years after the Taliban regime was toppled, our hopes for a truly democratic and independent Afghanistan have been betrayed by the continued domination of fundamentalists and by a brutal occupation that ultimately serves only American strategic interests in the region.

You must understand that the government headed by Hamid Karzai is full of warlords and extremists who are brothers in creed of the Taliban. Many of these men committed terrible crimes against the Afghan people during the civil war of the 1990s.

For expressing my views I have been expelled from my seat in parliament, and I have survived numerous assassination attempts. The fact that I was kicked out of office while brutal warlords enjoyed immunity from prosecution for their crimes should tell you all you need to know about the “democracy” backed by Nato troops.

In the constitution it forbids those guilty of war crimes from running for high office. Yet Karzai has named two notorious warlords, Fahim and Khalili, as his running mates for the upcoming presidential election. Under the shadow of warlordism, corruption and occupation, this vote will have no legitimacy, and once again it seems the real choice will be made behind closed doors in the White House. As we say in Afghanistan, “the same donkey with a new saddle”.

Obama pursues Bush’s policy

So far, Obama has pursued the same policy as Bush in Afghanistan. Sending more troops and expanding the war into Pakistan will only add fuel to the fire. Like many other Afghans, I risked my life during the dark years of Taliban rule to teach at underground schools for girls. Today the situation of women is as bad as ever. Victims of abuse and rape find no justice because the judiciary is dominated by fundamentalists. A growing number of women, seeing no way out of the suffering in their lives, have taken to suicide by self-immolation.

This week, US vice-president Joe Biden asserted that “more loss of life [is] inevitable” in Afghanistan, and that the ongoing occupation is in the “national interests” of both the US and the UK.

I have a different message to the people of Britain. I don’t believe it is in your interests to see more young people sent off to war, and to have more of your taxpayers’ money going to fund an occupation that keeps a gang of corrupt warlords and drug lords in power in Kabul.

What’s more, I don’t believe it is inevitable that this bloodshed continues forever. Some say that if foreign troops leave Afghanistan will descend into civil war. But what about the civil war and catastrophe of today? The longer this occupation continues, the worse the civil war will be.

The Afghan people want peace, and history teaches that we always reject occupation and foreign domination. We want a helping hand through international solidarity, but we know that values like human rights must be fought for and won by Afghans themselves.

I know there are millions of British people who want to see an end to this conflict as soon as possible. Together we can raise our voice for peace and justice.

Malalai Joya interview: here.

Afghan Rights Workers Call for Aid, Not War: here.

A majority of the public believes that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable and British troops should be pulled out immediately, a poll for The Independent has found: here.

The German army has dramatically intensified its intervention in Afghanistan in the past few days, employing heavy weaponry for the first time: here.

AFGHANISTAN: Two Justice Systems for Poor and Rich: here.

AFGHANISTAN: Rape – The Most Vulnerable Victims of Corruption: here.

A Thousand Splendid Suns: The plight of Afghan women only partially depicted: here.

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7 thoughts on “Afghan feminist opposes war

  1. Americans Oppose Both Wars in the Middle East

    By Andrew Moran.

    A recent poll has showed that more Americans are becoming opposed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Americans are not the only ones, international public opinion disapprove of the efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
    In a recent poll by AP-GFK, Americans are becoming more pessimistic and cautious with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 63 percent respondents interviewed opposed the Iraq war, while 53 percent disapproved the war in Afghanistan.
    Republicans and Democrats are split on the war issue. Two-thirds of Republican respondents approve both of the wars, while 10 percent of Democrats approve the Iraq war and 26 percent approve of the operation in Afghanistan. The high disapproval rating of Afghanistan is highly surprising to the Obama administration, which have made Afghanistan their top foreign policy issue.
    The President’s administration insisted that the Iraq pullout plan was “on schedule.” However, more people are becoming sceptic regarding Pres. Obama’s plans of withdrawing the troops from Iraq. After the President’s inauguration in January, 83 percent believed he would pull most troops out of Iraq. Presently, the percentage has dropped down to 68 percent of people who believe he would pull “most” troops out of the region within the next four years.
    Foreign nations have been determined to keep their soldiers in either of the two regions, even though there has been strong public opposition to the two wars. To show how politicians are apathetic to public opinion, in a recent interview in Tbilisi, Georgia, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden said that more coalition troops would die but it was “worth the effort.”
    With growing public disapproval in most nations who are involved in the combat effort in Afghanistan, countries are beginning to look at a more non-combative role in the region. Netherlands is looking to withdraw their military from Afghanistan however, Germany’s Defense Ministry has rationalized the war by saying “it’s not a war at all.”
    In a recent article published on Digital Journal titled: Afghanistan Civilians View Taliban as Liberators, Afghanistan villagers are starting to embrace the Taliban as liberators and seek the group for water and refuge.
    The telephone interview consisted of 1,006 respondents and was taken between July 16, 2009 and July 20, 2009. The poll has a margin of error by +/- 3.1 percentage points.


  2. Some translators not fit for duty

    Officers say they endanger troops

    Josh Habib (far left), a 53-year-old translator, along with two Marines, spoke to Afghan villagers. He has hiked in extreme heat, and said this is not the job he signed up for. Josh Habib (far left), a 53-year-old translator, along with two Marines, spoke to Afghan villagers. He has hiked in extreme heat, and said this is not the job he signed up for. (David Guttenfelder/ Associated Press)

    By Jason Straziuso
    Associated Press / July 26, 2009

    NAWA, Afghanistan – Josh Habib lay in a dirt field, gasping for air. Two days of hiking with Marines through southern Afghanistan’s 115-degree heat had exhausted him. This was not what he signed up for.

    Habib is not a Marine. He is a 53-year-old engineer from California hired by a contracting company as a military translator. When he applied for the lucrative linguist job, Habib said, his recruiter gave no hint he would join a ground assault in Taliban land. He carried 40 pounds of food, water, and gear on his back, and kept pace – barely – with Marines half his age.

    US troops say companies that recruit military translators are sending linguists to southern Afghanistan who are unprepared to serve in combat, even as hundreds more are needed to support the growing number of troops.

    Some translators are in their 60s and 70s and in poor physical condition – and some don’t even speak the right language.

    “I’ve met guys off the planes and have immediately sent them back because they weren’t in the proper physical shape,’’ said Gunnery Sergeant James Spangler, who is in charge of linguists at Camp Leatherneck, the largest US base in Helmand Province.

    “They were too old. They couldn’t breathe. They complained about heart problems,’’ he said.

    And that’s not the worst of it.

    Troops say low-skilled and disgruntled translators are putting US forces at risk.

    “Intelligence can save Marines’ lives and give us the advantage on the battlefield,’’ said Corporal William Woodall, 26, of Dallas, who works closely with translators. “Instead of looking for quality, the companies are just pushing bodies out here.’’

    Spangler, 36, of Lecanto, Fla., emphasized that translators need to be physically fit.

    “When we have convoys that are out days or weeks at a time and you have someone that’s 60 or 70 years old, I have to put the directive in: I need someone younger, can get out of a vehicle quickly, can run for short periods if needed,’’ Spangler said.

    The company that recruits the most US citizen translators, Columbus, Ohio-based Mission Essential Personnel, says it’s difficult to meet the increased demand for linguists to aid the 15,000 US forces being sent to southern Pashto-speaking provinces this year as part of President Obama’s increased focus on Afghanistan. Only 7,700 Pashto speakers live in the United States, according to the 2000 Census.

    Mission Essential’s senior vice president, Marc Peltier, said the linguists the company deploys to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries meet government standards. The military sets no age or weight requirements, he said.

    “I really wish everyone we send over was a 21-year-old who can pass the Marine Corps physical fitness exam. They’re not,’’ said Peltier.

    “It’s been a shock to some of them. You can’t really acclimate them. We don’t have centers to run scenarios out in the heat. It is a surprise to many of them and it’s very, very hard work, especially with a lot of the new Marines that are going into Helmand Province,’’ he said.

    How translators come to believe they won’t face danger could originate with recruiters.

    “They’re going to tell you whatever it is to get you hired,’’ Spangler said.

    Khalid Nazary, an Afghan-American citizen living in Kabul, called Mission Essential about a job and let an AP reporter listen.

    He asked whether he would go to “dangerous places.’’

    “Oh, no, no, no. You’re not a soldier. You’re not a soldier. Not at all,’’ the recruiter, Tekelia Barnett, said. “You’re not on the battlefield.’’

    The Afghan-American asked repeatedly whether he would be sent on battlefield missions. Barnett said he would translate for soldiers at schools, mosques, or hospitals. After being pressed on the point, Barnett said the linguist would be subject to “any’’ assignment, and if he didn’t want the task, he could quit.

    © Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.


  3. Stop the war, cry the kids

    Global Fears: Children are more worried about global war than global warming, a survey has found.

    A First News poll of around 1,000 youngsters revealed that the majority would put global issues at the top of their list of priorities if they were a world leader for a day.

    Around 43 per cent said they would stop all wars, while 29 per cent listed ending world hunger as their top priority.

    Only 17 per cent said that they would want to stop climate change.

    First News editor Nicky Cox said: “Britain’s children clearly care deeply about issues that reach beyond their own personal experience.”


  4. July death toll for US hits high of 42

    Afghanistan: The US military has said that a US service member was killed by insurgent fire in southern Afghanistan.

    July has already been the bloodiest month for US forces in the eight-year Afghan war but this death brings the monthly toll for American deaths to 42.

    A NATO release today said that the soldier died from wounds inflicted the day before in the south of the country, where US and British forces have launched an offensive against the Taliban.


  5. Pingback: Early Australian withdrawal from Afghan bloodbath | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Canadian support for Afghan women | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Afghan war, United States, Dutch government lies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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