Indian Express, November 25, 2001

‘Alliance no good, only democracy can save Afghans’


VISAKHAPATNAM, NOVEMBER 24: SAHAR Sabhas, one of the representatives of the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) stole the show on the first day of the All India Democratic Women’s Association conference here today.

Dressed in a black suit, Sabhas became the cynosure of all eyes as she entered the hall where delegates from all over the country and abroad were present. She requested the cameramen not to photograph her for security reasons.

Sabhas said that the fall of Taliban will not make any difference in the lives of the Afghans, especially the women there, as the Northern Alliance was no better than the Taliban. ‘‘Do not trust the Northern Alliance. It is another criminal group with a similar ideology. They are criminals who do not want to be exposed as such. In fact, Rabbani should be brought to the International Court of Justice,’’ she said.

The root cause of all the atrocities in Afghanistan is domination of fundamentalist ideology whether perpetrated by the Northern Alliance or the Taliban, she added. Only democracy can save the Afghans, she said.

RAWA, established in 1977, is the only feminist organisation in Afghanistan. Many of the organisation’s members lost their lives in the struggle to free the Afghan women from fundamentalist oppression. It provides education to females and also organises programs to enable women to earn a livelihood.

Sabhas said the first step towards a peace would be disarmament of the warring factions. ‘‘Sixty-five per cent of Afghans are women. We want a government based on democracy.”


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