Press Coverage of
RAWA demonstration on the International Human Rights Day

December 10, 2004 - Islamabad

No warlords in Afghan cabinet, say Afghan women
Middle East Times, World News, Kerala News, Dec.11,2004

ISLAMABAD -- Hundreds of Afghan refugee women took to the streets in Islamabad on international human rights day to demand that notorious warlords and fundamentalists in their country be kept out of the new cabinet in Kabul.

Joined by men and children, the women said that Afghanistan's popularly elected President Hamid Karzai should not include the warlords or fundamentalists in the cabinet that is to be sworn in early next week.

Members of the Revolutionary Association of the women of Afghanistan (RAWA), who, in the past, have been vocal against the policies of the Taliban government, are now demanding that Karzai exclude all such warlords out of his cabinet. Carrying anti-warlordism banners and chanting slogans, they marched to the United Nations building in Islamabad.

"Presence of criminals in the government is treason to the vote of Afghan people," read one placard. "Bringing warlords in the new government is treason to Afghans," said another.

"Long live freedom and democracy!" they chanted. "Connivance with any group of fundamentalists is treason."

Security was tight outside the United Nations building, but that failed to deter the charged demonstrators.

"We want to say (to) the world, and especially the government of Pakistan, that the fundamentalists are still in Afghanistan (and) in power and they should be disarmed," Danish Hameed, a senior member of Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) told reporters. Karzai won the popular vote in the presidential polls on December 7 and was elected president for a five-year term this week.

If Karzai sticks to his vow not to form coalitions with his main rivals-regional strongmen whose power derives from ethnic loyalties and private militias-his new cabinet will look very different from that which it replaces, a foreign news agency reported.

But many Afghans are wondering whether Karzai will find himself able to deny positions to figures responsible for factional violence seen in the past three years, or tainted by association with the country's massive opium and heroin trade. he makeup of the new cabinet is seen as crucial to whether the war-battered country, still racked by an Islamic insurgency, can chart a course away from regional warlordism, weak central control and an economy dominated by illicit drugs. Analysts say the new cabinet lineup could be seen as more important than the outcome of the presidential election and that this is Afghanistan's best opportunity to establish a reform-orientated government. (ANI)


A supporter of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) holds defaced posters of Afghan leaders, Abdullah Abdullah, left, and Abdul Rashid Dostum, at a protest rally against Afghanistan's leadership outside the United Nations office Friday, Dec. 10, 2004 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Participants of the rally chanted slogans and condemned policies of the ruling Afghan government.
(AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Pakistani policemen stand guard during a protest rally organized by the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) to mark International Human Rights Day outside the United Nations office in Islamabad December 10, 2004. RAWA protesters, including women and children, demanded peace and democracy on Friday in their war-ravaged country.
REUTERS/Mian Khursheed

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