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(en) Canada, Collectif Emma Goldman - Afghanistan seen by the women of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 26 Aug 2021 09:04:18 +0300

Demonstration organized to mark the fight against the return of the Taliban to power. The latter quickly repressed this demonstration. Photo credit: Reuters. ---- The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of the US occupation forces. While the situation of Afghan women has often been instrumentalized by the mainstream media and philo-imperialist intellectuals to legitimize Western interventions, we wanted to translate into French this interview with one of the spokespersons of the Association of Revolutionary Women. Afghanistan (RAWA), carried out a few weeks ago as the Taliban began their military reconquest.
RAWA is a feminist political organization based in Quetta, Pakistan, and founded in 1977 by Meena Keshwar Kamal with the aim of helping women in their struggle for emancipation and civil rights. From the 1990s, during the first Taliban regime, she carried out clandestine activities in the country in support of the emancipation of women. Through this interview conducted by Osservatorio Afghanistan, Maryam takes stock of 20 years of Western occupation and formulates perspectives on the continuation of the struggle in the new sequence that opens.

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, what progress has been made with regard to the status of women in the country?

There has been very little progress, and we can say that none of these changes have taken root deep in society. They have been fragile, and in some ways, illusory. The last 20 years have brought more disappointments and more tears. Insecurity, widespread war and uncertainty about the future, suicide bombings, targeted assassinations, rampant corruption, drugs and drug addiction, poverty, population displacement and much more, are the daily concerns of our people, and especially women. Afghanistan is still described as "the worst place to be born as a woman". One of our members prophetically said in an interview on March 13, 2002: "We know it's hard not to want to react when an event like 9/11 occurs, but the bombing of Afghanistan will not rid the world of terrorism. Terrorists and fundamentalists live all over the world, and by bombing a country you are not killing their network ". Today we see the result: the Taliban, more powerful than before, is ruling the country.

What have been the greatest successes and the greatest failures of these twenty long years of military occupation?

There have been some successes, such as the fact that girls are no longer banned from school and that women have been able to do certain jobs. The media managed to reach even the most remote villages and people had access to radio and television broadcasts. Communication systems such as cell phones and the internet have been introduced. These things may seem obvious, but for a very poor and backward country, these are real conquests. But at the same time, corruption has become widespread and the gap between the rich and the poor has widened. Under the Taliban, the cultivation of opium was banned, but today Afghanistan is the largest drug smuggling base while ethnic divisions and armed clashes are at an all-time high.

We would also like to remind you that if Afghanistan has been bombed by the United States and NATO, it is because of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Today, the Taliban are back in power and Daesh is present throughout the country ... Even if the Taliban rule Afghanistan, terrorism, destruction and fighting will not cease. As long as the United States and many other involved courtiers such as Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and even Russia, China, and India find their interest in supporting religious fundamentalists and known criminals, it will be difficult to find a solution.

According to Human Rights Watch, about 87% of Afghan girls and women experience assault in their lifetime. These numbers are terrifying ...

Afghanistan has always been a miserable place for its women due to the strong patriarchal mentality, feudal system, lack of education, culture and traditions, religious beliefs, etc. But the 40 long years of war and especially the strengthening of fundamentalism made the situation even worse.

Afghan women bear the brunt of the war and the continuing violence. Cases of rape, kidnappings, forced marriages, underage marriages and domestic violence are reported daily. There are several reasons why these numbers are not going down, but the main one is the strong hold of these fundamentalists who have been backed by the United States and who are the same misogynists who sit in parliament, who make the laws, who control the police, the judiciary and all government bodies.

Has the role of Western NGOs in the country been positive or negative?

NGOs in our country were part of the western military occupation. They grew like mushrooms after September 11. With the exception of a few small successful projects, they mostly played a negative role. USAID (the US government agency), has primarily implemented US policies, as have many other international NGOs.

These NGOs were also the main reason for corruption and bribes. They carried out projects that were only good on paper, under the supervision of strangers, and made no real change in the lives of our people.

Western countries have left Afghanistan one after another. Was the US withdrawal a mistake? And if not, why?

Yes, almost all countries have left. This is absolutely not a mistake for us, it is more of a positive thing. We were totally against this occupation and the presence of these troops. But unfortunately, this withdrawal is the result of a diplomatic agreement between the United States and the Taliban. Once again, as in previous years, it is Afghan civilians who are paying the price. The ongoing fighting is killing civilians, burning their homes and farms and forcing them to leave their villages.

RAWA firmly believes that no nation can receive peace and progress as if it were a gift. Nations must fight, build peace with their own hands, to have a solid bond with it.

What will happen if the Taliban take power?

They are already in power in the main parts of the country, but it all happened suddenly. People are still in shock. So far, they have acted differently depending on the area: some areas are still disputed, under fire from the fighting, but other cities and borders have been handed over to them without any resistance. Sooner or later they will arrive in Kabul and it will be difficult to predict what will happen. The Taliban will do their best to maintain a positive and different image this time around. They will also try to gain international support. They can organize "elections", but it is impossible to hide their misogynistic, criminal and ambiguous nature. In recent days people have been frightened by their criminal acts and no Afghan can forget the horrific attacks carried out in recent years,

Even the female members of the so-called peace talks delegation, like Fouzia Kofi, had claimed that the Taliban was changing, but the past few days have proven otherwise. The Taliban are just waiting for the right time to reach Kabul and create their Islamic emirate which will apply Sharia law and interfere in all aspects of our lives.

Is the alternative to flee?

Not at all. We will find a way to continue our fight depending on the situation. It's hard to say how, but we will certainly continue our underground activities as we did in the 1990s under the Taliban. Of course, this will not come without risks and dangers, but any form of resistance requires sacrifice.

Posted 17 hours ago by Collectif Emma Goldman

L'Afghanistan vu par les femmes de la Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
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