EUROPA PRESS, IBLNEWS and Yahoo! News, June 28, 2005 (Translated from Spanish)
RAWA asks to stop support to the fundamentalists in Afghanistan and to bet on democracy
The organization of Afghan women denounces that fundamentalists and warlords count with the afghan government’s and the United States’ support.
Madrid, June 28 (Europa Press) Afghan is about to hold parliamentary elections next September 18. Although more than three years passed after the fall of the Taliban regime and the presence of foreign troops led by the United States in the country, there has been no “economic, politic or social improvement”, claimed Mariam Rawi today in Madrid. Mariam Rawi represents the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). According to this defender of afghan women’s rights, fundamentalists and warlords control the country with the Government’s support as well as the support of other countries including United States in some cases. This leads to the need of finishing with them through democracy and not through the force.
There is still violation of women’s rights in Afghanistan, as well as rapes, assassinations and kidnappings, stressed Rawi in an interview given to Europa Press. Most of these cases are not investigated and when they are, the perpetrators are not condemned. “Since the fall of the Taliban, we had no social, political or economic improvement and the fundamentalists and warlords control some parts of the country”, she affirmed and emphasized that “they have not only political power but also military power” since they count on armaments and even private armies.
In view of this situation, the representative of the afghan feminist organization affirmed that although “the elections are a positive step in general for Afghanistan”, “the fundamentalists that count with the support of the Government, of other neighbor countries such as Pakistan and Iran, and in some cases of the United States too, directly or indirectly, will seize the Parliament and will be in charge of everything”.
That is why; she added, “it is extremely important”, that the “few people who really represent afghan women and men and the wish of peace and prosperity” be represented in Parliament as “independent candidates” and that they count with all the possible support from the afghan people as well as from foreign organizations and governments. This is the message that Rawi transmitted to members of the mixed commission Congress-Senate for the rights of women and the equality of opportunities, before whom she pronounced a discourse this morning. In the name of RAWA, the representative invited senators and deputies to give “financial, political and moral support” to these candidates and even to send a delegation of support to Afghanistan.
THE ROLE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
According to Mariam Rawi, the international community is not doing enough to help Afghanistan even though “during a short period of time after 9/11 the international community, media, humanitarian agencies and different Governments were worried for “helping this country, when nobody cared that during the previous 25 years, human rights were “stamped” by Soviets, the Northern Alliance or the Taliban. The United States took the decision to attack with the “world’s best and better equipped army” and bombed a “hungry and poor country causing more victims than in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon attacks”, she denounced.
The fall of the Taliban was achieved but “their combat resources were not diminished”. Iraq crisis came up then, she added, and the media began to affirm that “afghan women were free, the country was safe and had a new Constitution and a new president, and so nobody was interested in talking about Afghanistan any longer”. But the truth is, according to Rawi, that the situation is “tragic” and the country “is not free”.
Afghanistan needs the foreign aid in order to solve the present situation and get rid of fundamentalists and Al Qaeda terrorists that are present in the territory. For that purpose, according to RAWA’s representative, “it is necessary to stop the support they have, because they are very strong both politically and militarily but they could not be in power if they had no arms”. She assured that if that forces would transform in a “pacific political party they would be welcome”. Nevertheless, “some of them are criminals in Afghanistan history and they must be taken before the International Criminal Court and should not be in power”, she warned.
DEMOCRACY AGAINST TERRORISM
She explained that her organization does not defend the lengthy presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan, but they want them to adopt an “adequate policy” which not only “contributes to security” but also supports the elections and the “groups that represent democracy and are against fundamentalism”. “Fight against terrorism is not only a military fight, to bomb Afghanistan and destroy and kill its people, the first step is to build democracy for the people”, she asserted.
By the other hand, in regards to the presence of women in Parliament and in the future Government of the country, Mariam Rawi, who is in Spain invited by the NGO Paz Ahora, emphasized that female presence is not the problem, since it is guaranteed by the Constitution in the case of the National Assembly and is true in the current Government which counts with three female ministers. She says that the problem is “what is in their minds and what they think what women’s rights mean”. “Unfortunately, the female ministers that are in the current Government are committed to the fundamentalists and warlords in some way or another and they do not represent the wish of afghan women for equal rights”, concluded.
Since the intervention before the mixed commission, Rawi had only words of reproach towards the afghan president, Hamid Karzai. She accused him of not keeping his electoral promises of “security, freedom, education and a sanitary system for afghan people”. She also denounced the lack of freedom of speech in the country although the government affirms the contrary. She says that nobody can “speak or write against fundamentalists”. Against these fundamentalists, she added “the only medicine able to cure the afghan injuries is a lay secular government”.