Larry King Live, CNN,, Aired October 1, 2001 - 21:00 ET
RAWA on CNN LARRY KING LIVE
America's New War: Responding to Terrorism
When we come back, Tahmeena Faryal, member of RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. We will not be able to show her face for obvious reasons. Don't go away.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Tahmeena Faryal, a member of RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. We're going to show you excerpts from the gripping documentary "Beneath the Veil" during this interview. "Beneath the Veil" has been airing on CNN as part of "CNN PRESENTS." We're going to show it again next week.
This organization RAWA -- R-A-W-A -- was established in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1977 as an independent political-social organization of Afghan women fighting for human rights and social justice.
Do you fear for your safety?
TAHMEENA FARYAL, RAWA: It's really not fair, but we have to be very careful, because we work in a struggle inside Afghanistan and in Pakistan. That, of course, in the situation that our country has been in the last 20 years, especially under the fundamentalists, and recently, the Taliban, we do not have a situation to work openly.
KING: Where are you based?
FARYAL: I'm in Pakistan, but I also go to Afghanistan.
KING: What was it like growing up for a girl?
FARYAL: I spent my childhood in Afghanistan, and when I came to Pakistan I was one of the luckiest that I joined the school of my organization, RAWA, and where I learned to be -- to struggle and to work for women's liberation in my country.
KING: Maybe the worst in the world is in your country, right?
FARYAL: Of course. In the situation, we don't think that we can see any persons which can compare with any other (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: Now, it was bad before the Taliban, right?
KING: Worse now?
FARYAL: It's worse, yeah, but it started maybe in 1992 when the other fundamentalist groups took the power. It became worse, and all the restrictions became official under the Taliban.
KING: Education over 12 forbidden for women?
They do not have the right to work. They cannot go outside alone. They have to be accompanied all the time by a close male relative. They even have to paint the windows dark so they cannot be seen by the strangers from outside. And in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- they do not have the right to live.
Women in Afghanistan say that even animals enjoy some rights than we as women.
KING: That's incredible. How -- can an organization like yours effectively operate inside Afghanistan, or does all of it have to come out from Pakistan?
FARYAL: We do have activities in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan. But it definitely needs courage to work in...
KING: In Afghanistan. FARYAL: ... in Afghanistan as well as in Pakistan, because Pakistan also does not have very favorable condition for us. And we -- that's the main reason that we have to operate totally underground in Afghanistan, and in Pakistan also.
KING: Because your life would definitely be in danger.
FARYAL: Yes. As any other RAWA member, my life would also be in danger.
KING: How many people are in RAWA?
FARYAL: We're around 2,000 core members.
KING: All with guts. I mean, it takes a lot of fortitude to fight against a system like this.
FARYAL: Of course.
KING: Do you raise money?
FARYAL: We raise money through different activities, and mainly through our supporters, and in other countries. And that is mainly thanks to the Internet and our Web site.
KING: Yeah, we're going to give that out. If you want to help, it's simple. It's rawa.org, right?
KING: rawa.org. And the money does what? People who help?
FARYAL: We have different projects, which are for women and children, inside Afghanistan and for refugees in Pakistan. These are in the educational field, income-generating projects, especially for widows, because they do not have any other option. The majority of the widows will have gone to beggary and prostitution, or they have to commit suicide, because they see their children dying in front of their eyes.
KING: Is there a lot of suicide?
FARYAL: Yes. There is a very -- horribly increasing cases of suicide in Afghanistan.
KING: Do you fear an allied bombing of Afghanistan?
FARYAL: Of course. That's the fear of the majority of the population inside Afghanistan, because the people of Afghanistan are already terrorized for more than two decades.
KING: What about the possibility, what do you think of the return of the exiled king?
FARYAL: We've always welcomed the return of the former king of Afghanistan, and in fact, in this situation, we think that he can be the only alternative as a first step to establish an infrastructure in Afghanistan. And to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) toward -- we can go to a more democratic government.
KING: And we have a tremendous humanitarian crisis, too, with the refugees, which we'll talk more about.
KING: I thank you very much for coming.
FARYAL: Thank you.
KING: I wish you could see her. She's very pretty. And if you want to help, it's rawa.org, rawa.org. That's the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. Our guest has been Tahmeena Faryal.