Let Us Struggle Against War and Fundamentalism
and for Peace and Democracy!
Partisans of freedom, sisters and brothers,
When celebrating March 8th last year, RAWA expressed the fond hope that in the coming year, i.e. 2002, we will be celebrating International Women's Day inside a free and liberated Afghanistan. During the course of the past year the world community was shocked by events emanating from Afghanistan and contemporary history has been drastically changed by them. Many things have come to pass in Afghanistan -not the least of which is the fumigation of the Taliban pestilence and their al-Qaeda carriers- but it is with bitter disappointment that despite all these momentous changes our unhappy land is still far from enjoying freedom and liberty. The women of the world celebrate International Women's Day with spirit and enthusiasm; in Afghanistan women still don't feel safe enough to throw away their wretched burqa shrouds, let alone raise their voices in the thousands in support of freedom and democracy. There is still a wide chasm between us and the glorious future we have fixed our eyes, hearts and minds upon. It is as if Fate has decreed that this most pauperised nation on earth should not be able to throw the chains and shackles of despots and vampire fundamentalists away so easily.
To give voice to such agonised musings is by no means an indication of despair or lack of faith in a better tomorrow. For over two decades, RAWA has intrepidly and steadfastly been treading a precipitous path of tears and blood. We know full well the perils and the dangers of the road ahead of us, and we will not for an instant falter in our resolve to continue to fight crazed religious fundamentalism and its patrons who stand in our way of reaching our goals of peace, democracy, progress and women's emancipation. And in the course of this travail we will succumb neither to misgivings nor to delusions.
Despite the fact that in the course of the months after the horrendous attack of religious fanatics on New York and Washington we have on several occasions set forth our views and stances on pertinent issues, we avail ourselves of the present opportunity to once again reiterate our principled positions on key issues. We hope that by so doing we will have responded to numerous queries posed by RAWA supporters inside Afghanistan and abroad:
1. RAWA and the US military campaign against the Taliban and the Osama band
RAWA has consistently emphasised the fact that the Taliban, Osama & Co., and other fundamentalist bands in Afghanistan are creatures of myopic US policies vis-à-vis the Afghan war of resistance against Soviet aggression. As long as such Frankenstein monsters were useful for the pursuance of US policies, successive US governments supported them and persistently turned a blind eye to the higher interests of the people of Afghanistan and to the consequences of such support for freedom and democracy in our country and the region. RAWA takes great pride in the fact that we persistently condemned this US policy and never caved in to pressure nor "circumspection", nor to the lure political or financial opportunism.
We look upon the American nation as a great people who have made immense contributions to human civilisation, social and scientific progress. It is the conscience of the people of the United States that is scourged first and foremost by the slaughter of innocent Afghans in consequence of US bombardment in Afghanistan. Proof of this is amply shown in demonstrations against the war in Afghanistan in most American cities. RAWA has been inundated by thousands of emails from across the United States expressing sympathy with our people and condemning the US bombardments which claim innocent victims. Visits to Afghanistan by groups of bereaved Americans who have lost dear ones in the September 11 tragedy to sympathise and commiserate with the victims of the bombardments is a shining example of the humanism and love of peace typical of the people of the United States. Such gestures will never be forgotten by the people of Afghanistan. The tears of anguish of thousands of mourning Americans and grieving Afghans will give rise to a fountain of love and sincere bonding of the peoples of the two countries. We take greater pride in the fact that our organisation, ever marginalised and sidelined by successive US administrations and US government institutions, has enjoyed immense moral support and the unbounded material generosity of thousands of American men, women and children. The implementation of many of our diverse projects would not have been possible without such generous American aid. Our heartfelt gratitude to the American people is our response to allegations that "RAWA is anti-American".
We look upon the US military campaign in Afghanistan not as an aggression against Afghanistan or a war on the Afghan people, or as an aggression against Islam or the Muslims but as a fracas between patron and ex-protégés. In contradistinction to some mealy-mouthed, colluding women's organisations, the total obliteration not only of the Taliban and their al-Qaeda props but also of the criminal Jehadis is a top RAWA political priority. The bloodshed and misery visited upon our innocent fundamentalism-scourged people -the euphemistically called "collateral damage"- in consequence of the US punishment meted out to its rebellious former agents cannot but incite our opposition to America's war in Afghanistan. We had many a time in the past proclaimed that a meaningful, decisive and timely UN injunction on all countries in regard to supplying funds and arms to the Taliban, coupled with a loud and clear call to all countries to support anti-fundamentalist and pro-democracy forces in Afghanistan were the means to contain the Taliban and the al-Qaeda and to shorten the life span of these vermin.
2. RAWA and the war on terrorism
One fundamentalist band cannot be fought by siding with and supporting another. In its war on the Taliban and the al-Qaeda, the US has taken the "Northern Alliance" into service through wooing and arming certain infamous warlords. By so doing, the US is in fact abetting the worst enemies of our people and is continuing the same tyrannical policy against the people and the destiny of Afghanistan which successive US administrations adopted during the past two decades. The Taliban and the al-Qaeda cannot be eradicated through military and financial might alone. War on the Taliban and the al-Qaeda is not only a war on the military and financial fronts, it is a war on the ideological front too. Until such time as mindsets and thoughts characteristic of the Taliban and Osama & Co. remain, it is inevitable that we shall witness their trademark barbarism erupt yet once again, be it in Afghanistan or in any other part of the world. The den of these evil criminals in Afghanistan is under siege. Democratic and anti-fundamentalist forces in Afghanistan need to fight the Taliban, the al-Qaeda and their fundamentalist brethren relentlessly and resolutely until total eradication of terrorism and fundamentalism in all its forms in our country. Only with the taking root of democracy in Afghanistan with the unreserved support of the international community can final victory over terrorism and fundamentalism be achieved.
3. The situation after the fall of the Taliban
The Bonn gathering on Afghanistan was convened with the aim of forming a transitional administration and deciding what needs to be done in the long term after the pulverisation of the Taliban and the al-Qaeda. With the exception of supporters of the former king, over three fourths of the participants of the gathering were comprised of ignominious representatives of the "Northern Alliance" and affiliates of the infamous terrorist organisation of Golbodin Hekmatyar. Therefore, despite the vociferous benedictions of the Western media, the Bonn gathering cannot be a harbinger of peace and democracy for our people. The parcelling out of key ministries amongst figures whose horrendous crimes still haunt our people and the worsening of the security situation in Kabul and in other provinces have borne out for the umpteenth time the veracity of our predictions based on the track record of the "Northern Alliance". The existence of one or two showpiece women in the transitional administration (one belonging to a party infamous for being a lackey of the Iranian regime and the other a former high-ranking member of a party which epitomises treachery to the motherland) is more an insult to Afghan women than a symbol of the restoration of their status and legal rights. The women of Afghanistan have not been liberated. This fact has been most succinctly summed up by the New York Times in its issue of November 19, 2001, when writing about an Afghan widow with eight children to feed: "Now, at lest she is free to beg"!
RAWA has repeatedly and consistently asserted that under the prevailing circumstances no power except the Afghan people themselves can or will succour them against fundamentalism, and there is no precedent in history wherein a foreign nation or nations who have themselves been patrons and abettors of agents of bondage and fundamentalist affliction have granted liberty to a nation held in thrall by those very same agents. It was for this reason that RAWA persistently called on our people to rise up against the Taliban, the al-Qaeda and other fundamentalists. Such was the precondition for averting the circumstances which have brought about US bombardment and the slaughter of innocent people, and for preventing any group of religious vampires from having a share in power in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
Mr Karzai, who does not have the backing and support of any indigenous organisation or armed force, together with a number of his like-situated colleagues are hostages in the hands of "Northern Alliance" criminals. Mr Karzai, not a fundamentalist himself, has a history of colluding and hobnobbing with Burhanuddin Rabbani and his band, and has therefore deluded himself into thinking that putting up with the criminals he has around him and honouring arch-warlords like Rabbani would bring him political dividends. Unfortunately he either does not know or does not want to know that his key ministers are perpetrators of heinous crimes against our people -infamies which are manifold times more unpardonable and inexpiable than those of the Taliban. Mr Karzai can rest assured that the Rabbani gang he has around him, having already had a taste of a number of years of power and government and unfettered drug trafficking and legendary hoarding of wealth under the cloak of diplomatic immunity, will never be content with the simple usurpation of key government posts. They will bide their time to once again seize undivided and uncontested power.
The revolting efforts by the Rabbani group to canonise their icon, Ahmad Shah Massoud, and their fervid political ululations under his portraits are all in preparation for conspiracies in the offing. The "gentlemen" of the Rabbani gang, ex-fundamentalists and reborn "democrats", have worn the collar of fealty to the ilk of Abdullah Ozzam and Osama bin Laden much more than the Taliban, and have fed much longer on the crumbs falling from their tables. With their ridiculous newly-acquired obsession with their "civilised" appearance and their aping of the latest European menswear fashions, they may succeed in masking their real political and ideological features and backgrounds from the eyes of superficial people particularly in the West, but they will never succeed in hiding their bloodstained sleeves from the eyes of our people. The recent falling upon each other of fundamentalist Jihadi predators in Paktia and Ningarhar provinces, the growling and snarling of Karim Khalili in the Hazarajat region, the thuggeries of Rashid Dostum and his gang of scoundrels in the north of Afghanistan, the most recent political whorings of Ismael Khan in the Herat area, and the intrigues of Rabbani and his murderous band in Badakhshan, etc. etc., all show the cloven hoof and are prodromal signs of more treacheries to come. With the establishment of peace and democracy and the beginning of the march towards development and progress, all these "gentlemen" will find themselves out of the sovereignty-through-infamy-and-religion-hustling business and will lie in wait to once again drench Kabul in blood and extend their rule over the country.
The murder of the aviation minister, Dr. Abdurrahman, is a not-too-subtle hint to the ex-King, Mr Karzai, and his friends; it is a small glimpse of the intrigues and infamies the most depraved enemies of our people Mr Karzai has around him are capable of in order to protect their criminal interests. Dr. Abdurrahman was done away with because his murderers did not trust him to keep the shameful secrets he knew about Ahmad Shah Massoud, Dr. Abdullah, General Fahim and other leaders of Jamiat-i-Islami. Any spilling of the beans by Dr Abdurrahman would have torn away the shreds that remain of the masks they continue to don and hope to fool everyone with.
Mr Karzai: It may be that the Afghan people will forbear from naming you a second Shah Shuja or a second Babrak Karmal because you were placed in the position you are in exigency circumstances and as an alternative to murderers of the kind of Golbodin Hekmatyar, Sayyaf, Khalili and their ilk; but they will not forgive the indefinite continuation of your spineless leniency, or your concurrence with Jihadi cutthroats -a concurrence that will ultimately stand you in no good stead. The litmus test of your -or any other Afghan leader's- worth, competence and honesty is your political conduct towards fundamentalists and their foreign masters, and your fidelity to the principles of democracy.
There are some who raise the issue of the need for national reconciliation in Afghanistan and cite the pardon of the Nazis in Germany and in other countries by way of an example. If such allegorisation is not a product of ignorance in regard to the nature and track record of Afghan fundamentalists, it can have no other meaning short of requesting Afghans to be jubilant and festive at the funeral of their most beloved ones. How can the Afghan nation be expected to pardon and reconcile themselves with bands and individuals who from 1992 to 1996 perpetrated such heinous atrocities and treacheries, and brought about so much devastation? To boot: not only do these "gentlemen" not show the slightest compunction in regard to their past, they recline in their ministerial and ambassadorial portfolios with unspeakable haughtiness and disdain for the people they have wronged so much. To take up the Nazi simile: firstly, there may be no Nazi of leadership calibre who has not received or been sentenced to capital punishment; secondly -and more importantly- second rank Nazis who were not killed or brought to justice were not given the reins of government and the destinies of the people neither in Germany nor in any other country of the world. Would that the world community know that the atrocities perpetrated by Afghan fundamentalists are not paralleled either by the Nazis or Fascists or any other inhuman political entity; even the Afghan fundamentalists' Algerian brethren-in-creed who think nothing of cutting the throats of newborn babies would shrink from raping their compatriot mothers, sisters and sons, a favourite practice of the "Northern Alliance" predators who first rape their victims before killing them and plundering their belongings. There can be no reconciliation with such depraved criminals, especially as long as they are in a dominant position. Until such time as such criminals are brought to justice, the trial of lesser criminals by international tribunals at the Hague or elsewhere on charges of war crimes or crimes against humanity are at best defective, biased and travesties of justice. Serbian and non-Serbian criminals are innocent children when compared with their Afghan confreres. If deployment of troops and military action against the Taliban and the al-Qaeda is a just cause, prosecuting the bone-chilling crimes of the "Northern Alliance" is the sine qua non for peace, democracy and justice in Afghanistan.
There are some who ask, "Why can't RAWA finally approve of any government in Afghanistan?" The answer is simple: because we do not deem any present or past political force coming to power as democratic and believing in the inalienable rights of women. We can have no understanding with hellhounds who have the brand of years of atrocious criminality against the people on their features.
4. The establishment of peace
In conditions when -even with the presence of several thousand foreign troops in Kabul- the capital cannot be deemed a safe and secure place, there is no alternative to the deployment of an effective UN security force across the country to ensure secure conditions for the convocation of a Loya Jirga and, more importantly, countrywide suffrage. Despite all the criticism that is being levied against the UN modus operandi, RAWA much prefers the presence of UN troop to the unleashing of Jihadi psychopaths on the Afghan population. Such UN troops should not, however, comprise troops from countries who have hitherto aided and abetted fundamentalists and brutal warlords, e.g. Turkey, which has been a prime supporter of the criminal Dostum.
5. Neighbouring countries
It seems that the Iranian regime, after years of cuddling Golbodin Hekmatyar and setting up the "Cyprus process" for the furtherance of his interests, is now divorcing him. Such a break-up, however, can fool no one. The sole aim of the blood-drenched Iranian regime from this Split-Up-With-Golbodin show is a smokescreen to hide its dangerous, deceitful manoeuvres to prevent -through strengthening and supporting its trusted lackeys, Ismael Khan and Karim Khalili- the reunification of Afghanistan. With the collapse of their Taliban cousins-in-creed, the Vilayat-e-Faqih regime in Iran shook to its foundations, and in order to keep the waters muddy in Afghanistan, did not desist from granting safe haven to Taliban and al-Qaeda escapees to Iran.
If it is a dire misfortune for our ill-fated country to have as bloodthirsty a regime as the Iranian one incumbent in our neighbouring country to the west, it has the double misfortune to have incumbent to the east -a neighbour with which we shares a border stretching for hundreds of miles from the northeast to the southwest- Pakistani regimes that during the past 23 years have based their Afghan policies on blueprints in which leaders, intelligence services and Islamic fundamentalist parties have worked hand in glove to create, nurture and train criminal Jihadi and subsequently Taliban bands and unleash them on the people of Afghanistan. The current Pakistani government has taken steps to muzzle terrorist Pakistani fundamentalist parties, but as stated in a RAWA declaration, such steps cannot be adequate to secure the trust of the Afghan people unless 1) hundreds of assassination, abduction, extortion, torture, and other criminal cases against leaders and key members of terrorist Jihadi organisations, including first and foremost Golbodin Hekmatyar's criminal band -created in response to suits brought up by families of the victims- have been processed and justice meted out; and, 2) leaders and members of the Jamiat-e-Khoddam al-Furqan (Association of the Servants of the Qoran) including Mullah Abdul Hakim Mujahed, who are none but a re-cast Taliban band, are arrested, tried and punished.
Likewise, the governments of Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan can gain the trust and goodwill of the Afghan people only by releasing documents pertaining to the assistance they have given over the years to the "Northern Alliance" terrorists and pledging to desist from any form of further support to their erstwhile protégés.
6. Afghan Reconstruction
The pouring in of billions of dollars into a country where the fundamentalist mafia are still in power can little benefit the Afghan people. Under the circumstances, the only result from the flow of money will be the filling of the coffers of the religious Cosa Nostra and consequently funding their terrorist agendas inside and outside Afghanistan. In a country like Afghanistan where there is no trace of a legal infrastructure or even a quasi-democratic government, most social and economic issues must be addressed as political issues. The satisfactory management of social and economic problems in Afghanistan and their resolution in the interests of the people of Afghanistan depend first and foremost on the formation of a democratic Afghan government. We draw the serious attention of all countries interested in contributing to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan to the point we have highlighted above.
7. Loya Jirga (Grand Council)
RAWA does not consider a Loya Jirga a democratic institution compatible with the exigencies of national political life in the contemporary world. However, we believe that under the current circumstances in which the shadow of the fundamentalists' beards and bayonets fall tall and ominous on the land, the anachronistic Loya Jirga can still play a positive national historical role. We have our strong reservations, though, in that none of the 21-member Preparatory Committee for the Convocation of the Loya Jirga has any background of struggle against Jihadi criminals, and some of them have records of spineless silence and compromise vis-à-vis the Taliban. With such a preparation committee, the nature and competence of the Loya Jirga come into question. It is "amusing" to note that one of the women members of the above mentioned committee, in addition to being a former member of the Parcham faction of the disgraced PDPA (Soviet quisling party), was brought into the limelight by the international media simultaneously with the entry of the Rabbani band into Kabul. Who does she represent?
As is evident, Mr Lakhdar Barahimi's indigenous advisors have unfortunately, in the matter of selecting members of the Preparatory Committee for the Convocation of the Loya Jirga, advised him in a direction contrary to the aspirations of the Afghan people. Mr Barahimi needs to know that should the stench of fundamentalist composition rise from the Loya Jirga -as it does from the Transitional Administration-the UN and the UN only will be held responsible for the renewed Afghan tragedy, as no one will ascribe the blame to his indigenous advisers. Selection of players for any role or function in any institution solely on the basis of their religious or ethnic affiliation is highly inadequate and totally misguided. The crucial issue needs to be freedom from fundamentalist contamination for representatives of each and every religious or ethnic denomination. Otherwise, it is highly likely that the composition of the Loya Jirga will comprise representatives from all tribal, ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan, but most or all of them will be carriers of the fundamentalist contagion. The outcome is in need of no elaboration.
One of the women members of the Transitional Administration, who deceitfully denies belonging to the leadership of an ethno-chauvinistic fundamentalist party, has rightfully admitted that she does not represent the people of Afghanistan. Not to be representative of a people for having lived away from them for long periods of time is not crucial; what is crucial is to have a mindset free of fundamentalist filth which would allow one to stand steadfast in the patriotic, democratic, progressive front in the sanguinary ideological war against Jihadi and Taliban treachery. If the Loya Jirga is not made into such a front, it will merely be a vile instrument for adoption of decisions along fundamentalist and anti-democratic lines.
8. The Constitution
The 1964 Afghan Constitution can, with the following amendments, be acceptable to the majority of the people of Afghanistan (except the fundamentalists):
- Expunction of references to official religion and schismatic religious branch. Constitutions of many Islamic countries have no such references. Why should the Constitution of Afghanistan be void of such a democratic characteristic? Why, through recognising one religion and one religious branch, should adherents of other religions or religious branches be marginalised? In order to forge the Constitution itself into a formidable barrier against the emergence of fundamentalism and religious strife, it must be stipulated that use of religion for furtherance of political objectives is strictly prohibited and prosecutable by law.
- Secularism and separation of religion from politics and the State: RAWA has repeatedly asserted that the only way for preventing our nation from being blighted by fundamentalism or any other pestilence in the garb of religion, whether now or in the future, is separation of religion from politics and the State. The inclusion of this explicit provision in the Constitutions of other Islamic countries has not been deemed alien or anti-Islamic. There is no reason why the Constitution of Afghanistan should be void of such a central democratic tenet. Those who consider calls for secularism as an "anti-religious penchant" do so, if not out of sheer ignorance, in order to wittingly or unwittingly serve fundamentalist interests.
- Establishment of a constant allotment of seats for women deputies in any future parliament.
- Abrogation of torture and execution under whatever name or excuse.
RAWA will present its more elaborate proposals at a future opportunity.
9. The future Afghan State
In view of the composition of the Transitional Administration, RAWA does not deem it fit and competent to perform on the basis of democratic principles. Even if Mr Karzai and a select few of his team sincerely pledge their faith in democracy and their adherence to its tenets, they are enmeshed and paralysed in the tentacles of the avowed enemies of democracy who have them encircled.
RAWA calls for a future Afghan State which will be based on the following principles:
- Unqualified adherence to the principles and criteria of democracy and its major tenet, secularism
- Strict prohibition of all forms of decrees, fatwas, etc. in regard to women and what they should wear, etc. (Isn't ten long years of suppression and waging of a savage and vile war on women enough?)
- Total and absolute abrogation of political police organisations or other institutions of civil espionage, torture or harassment, be it of the type of the Parchami, Khalqi, Jihadi or Taliban regimes, or in any other form. (A museum of shame should be established to record the totality of the infamies perpetrated by these successive regimes.)
- Prosecution of all individuals who, during the past 23 years have committed high treason, war crimes, blatant violations of human rights and plunder of national assets.
- Abolishment and proscription of all religious madrassas and other terrorist dens where Jihadi and Taliban mindsets are promoted and trained.
- Investigation and extraction of hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of funds embezzled and misappropriated by Jihadi and Taliban thieves from public coffers or from international financial assistance funds. (Such investigation and extraction should include the $10,000,000 given by the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Sebghatullah Mojadedi, the first Jihadi "President" of Afghanistan. This sum is inconsequential when compared with misappropriations of hundreds of millions of dollars by other Jihadi leaders, but fortunately it is well documented.)
- Debarment of higher-echelon individuals of Jihadi and Taliban parties from hold high public office. Likewise, debarment of intellectuals who, whether inside or inside Afghanistan, shamelessly put their talents, pens and voices at the service of Jihadi and Taliban criminals. The extradition of such Taliban and "Northern Alliance" ideologues should be requested from US, Canadian, European and Australian authorities, and authorities of all other countries of refuge of such elements. Legal proceedings should be initiated against such individuals for their venal servitude to Jihadi and Taliban scoundrels.
Let RAWA opponents and antagonists level any base accusation they wish against RAWA. Let so-called intellectual lackeys of Jihadi and Taliban criminal bands not desist from any sort of vile foul-mouthing of RAWA. Let imbeciles arise to claim that Afghan women, because of religious and cultural conditioning, consent to mediaeval Jihadi or Taliban despotism and are not worthy of freedom and democracy. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan is veteran of over two decades of intrepid struggles in the face of death and worse for democracy, women's emancipation and empowerment. We will not flinch from reactionary and misogynist defamation and vituperation levelled against us. We rely on the masses of bereaved, agonised Afghan women; and together with all other pro-democracy forces in our homeland will not desist for a moment nor take one step back from the pursuance of our lofty objectives.
Inspired by the blood Meena shed on this path, and with a resolve steeled as never before to create a free, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan, we shall march forward and fight at the vanguard of our country's legion of women. As a battalion of the great army of women partisans of freedom around the world, the women of the world will find us at our posts.
Let the succour and support for the fight of the women of Afghanistan against war and fundamentalism and for freedom and democracy strengthen and expand as never before!
Long live RAWA's solidarity with freedom-loving women and women's organisations around the world!
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
March 8, 2002 - Peshawar