The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
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Tasmanian Times, June 6, 2009

Get out of Afghanistan

Shakib has been on a nationwide tour of Australia sponsored by SAWA Australia

LINDSAY TUFFIN

That was the blunt message to Australia _ and the US _ on Sunday from Shazia Shakib, a member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).

Shazia Shakib (not her real name, to protect her) on Sunday in Hobart gave a first-hand account of the struggle for human rights, democracy and secular values in her country, a nation ravaged by war and religious fundamentalism.

She told the Hobart meeting Afghanistan’s best hope was for the US and its allies _ including Australia _ to pull their troops out and stop backing the Hamad Karzai government which she said was dominated by warlords.

A civil war would then erupt between the Islamic Fundamentalist Taliban and the Northern Alliance, made up of warlords and drug chieftans.

She believed that was better than occupation by foreign powers which led to increasing alienation of the people from any democratic possibility.

Shazia Shakib _ who lives in the Afghani capital Kabul where she works as a teacher for RAWA _ said democracy could emerge from the ashes of civil war. But it never could while the US and its allies occupied and backed factions within Afghanistan.

Shakib has been on a nationwide tour of Australia sponsored by SAWA Australia, a Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan. Support has come also from the Australian Education Union and Zonta District 23 Area 2.

She told the meeting of about 50 in Hobart that Afghani women suffered horror upon horror _ the Taliban and the warlords treating women as the property of men; forbidding education, raping, murdering, throwing acid into the faces of young girls who dared to want an education.

RAWA has existed for 30 years, through Soviet occupation, Taliban rule, the American invasion and the current reign of warlords; running health clinics, schools and adult education centres.

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