AlterNet, September 12, 2010
Afghanistan: Is It All Smoke and Mirrors?
RAWA’s analysis of the real reasons for the war seems to coincide with that of most anti-war activists: namely to extend the US grip on the oil and gas reserves of the Central Asian Republics, in competition with China and other regional powers
Posted by Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
After the July Time magazine cover of the noseless Afghan woman was exposed as a fake (it turns out that the woman’s nose wasn’t removed by the Taliban, as Time reported, but by her husband three years earlier – see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/abdulhadi-hairan/times-aisha-story-is-fake_b_692123.html), I decided it was impossible to get an accurate view of the war in Afghanistan from any US source. Which led me to consult the website of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (www.rawa.org) for the first time in several years.
Fighting for Women’s Rights and Social Justice since 1977
RAWA was established in Kabul in 1977 as an independent political/social organization of Afghan women fighting for human rights and social justice in Afghanistan. The founders were a number of Afghan women intellectuals under the leadership of a woman named Meena, who in 1987 was assassinated by Afghan agents of the KGB. Before the Moscow-directed coup d’état of April 1978 in Afghanistan, RAWA’s activities were confined to agitation for women’s rights and democracy. After the coup and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in December
1979, RAWA became directly involved in the war of resistance against the Soviets. RAWA activists also involved themselves in addressing the immediate needs of Afghan refugee women in Pakistan, by establishing schools, mobile health teams and nursing, literacy and vocational training courses for women.
Since the overthrow of the Soviet-installed puppet regime in 1992, the focus of RAWA’s political struggle has been against the fundamentalists in the Northern Alliance and against the ultra-fundamentalist Taliban and their atrocities against women and the people of Afghanistan in general.
The US “War on terrorism” removed the Taliban regime in October 2001. However in RAWA’s view, it only strengthened the fundamentalist grip over Afghanistan by reinstalling in power the brutal and misogynist warlords linked with the Northern Alliance.
An Invitation for the Taliban to Participate in Government – What???!!!
The RAWA website has a number of revealing articles in addition to the expose regarding the fraudulent Time magazine cover (originally published in the Huffington Post and on the website of its author, Afghan writer, research analyst, journalist, and translator Abdulhadi Hairan http://www.abdulhadihairan.com/). For people with short memories, the cover and accompanying article regarding an alleged Taliban atrocity against women were used to justify the ongoing US occupation. However the most interesting post on the RAWA site concerns the June 2010 “Consultative Peace Jirga.” (The “jirga” is the traditional Afghan representative governing structure). Mainly because it identifies by name all the Taliban leaders Afghan president Hamid Karzai invited to the June 2010 “jirga.”
I admit to finding this a little confusing. I thought the entire reason for the US war in Afghanistan was to defeat the Taliban. Yet the Afghan president has taken to calling some of their leaders “Afghan sons” and is inviting them to participate in government.
Exactly Who Are We Fighting in Afghanistan?
All this raises the obvious question of exactly who we are we fighting in Afghanistan. The Pentagon, media and anti-war activists all seem to agree there is no significant Al Quaeda presence there (I think the latest estimate was six Al Quaeda operatives). RAWA’s analysis of the real reasons for the war seems to coincide with that of most anti-war activists: namely to extend the US grip on the oil and gas reserves of the Central Asian Republics, in competition with China and other regional powers.
The same article identifies by name the Islamic Party warlords who were invited to the June 2010 “jirga,” despite being on the US terrorist list. It also contains interesting tidbits about the Afghan drug trade, the link between Pakistani intelligence and the Taliban and the alarming growth of support among Afghan intellectuals who look to the Taliban as the only way to end US occupation.