News from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
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RAWA NEWS, February 26, 2024

Italian funds to Fawzia Koofi, corrupt former vice-president of the Afghan parliament

What Happened or will Happen to the Funds Allocated to Fawzia Koofi by the Italian International Cooperation? How will be Used to Support Afghan Women?

On February 3, 2006 Secretary Rice met with two members of the Afghan Parliament. Mr. Sayed Hamed Gailani, Upper House Deputy Speaker, and Ms. Fawzia Koofi, Lower House Deputy Speaker, were in Washington DC to attend the State of the Union address on January 31. State Department Photo

“Italy contributes in giving voice to Afghan women – together with the Women's Peace Humanitarian Fund (WPHF)”.

On 19th November 2023 the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, with this title, proudly presents on its website funds of 4.5 million euros for 2022 specifically aimed for supporting Afghan women".

In particular, they said the support is in favor of "Fawzia Koofi, the first vice-president of the Afghan Parliament, as well as former President of the Commission for women's issues and human rights, who after the fall of Kabul into the hands of Taliban, continued to fight to promote the rights of Afghan women and girls. In June 2022, thanks to the support of the Women's Peace Humanitarian Fund (WPHF), Fawzia Koofi traveled to Geneva to ask the United Nations Human Rights Council to hold a debate on the women's and girls' rights crisis in Afghanistan. ...Fawzia Koofi's denunciation activity would probably not have been possible without the contribution of the United Nations WPHF"...

“The belief of the importance of stopping gender violence, supporting the capacity of local women, in order to free them from violence and contribute to peace processes, has led Italy to support also the global action of the Women Peace Humanitarian Fund, with a further amount of 2 million euros in 2022 and 3 million euros in 2023 - to support women's voices and fight against violence"

But what happened or will happen to the funds allocated to Fawzia Koofi by the Italian International Cooperation? How will be used to support Afghan women?

To answer this question we tried to follow the money distributed by Italy in recent days.

It has been quite easy because it is indicated in the purposes of the International Fund. WPHF which distributed the funds and to which Italy contributed to. Really Italy did not give the money directly to Fawzia Koofi but simply gave 4.5 euros to WPHF.

The International Fund explains on its website who the money is allocated to. The funds that interests us has

ended up in the hands of Fawzia Koofi through support to the "1000 Women Leaders Programme".

"WPHF Funding Window for WHRDs" i.e. defenders of women's human rights.Its purpose is to provide, in collaboration with NGOs, rapid and flexible funding and direct logistical support to WHRD coming or working in different conflict-affected areas, … [women or LGBTI who] individually or in association with others, formally or informally, act to promote or protect human rights, including women's rights, peacefully at local, national, regional and international levels".

The support, it is specified, comes through two flows:

- Safety net in collaboration with partner NGOs with funding of up to $10,000

to cover urgent costs, such as living expenses and short-term protection, including equipment (computers, security cameras), Internet, self-care, legal assistance and relocation or return home;

- advocacy support,

to organize and cover logistical expenses (transport, visa fees, accommodation, daily allowance, accessibility for DDUs with disabilities) to participate in a meeting, event or decision-making process at a national, regional or international level that contributes to promoting human rights and peace.

With this Window, it is explained, Fawzia Koofi traveled to Geneva in June 2022 to ask the Human Rights Council to hold an urgent debate. Three months later she also received travel assistance to brief the United Nations Council in New York on the situation in AfghanistanEvidently UN, United States, European and Western governments focus on her as a leader for the future of Afghanistan. Moreover, the WPHF has "an ambitious goal: to support "1000 women leaders in 1000 communities affected by the crisis around the world". And as the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) says in the article, it is thanks to the support of the WPHF that Fawzia Koofi was able to have the role and the international importance that she has....However, there is a big gap between the 10,000 dollars officially given to Fawzia Koofi and the 4,5 million euros given by Italy "specifically aimed to support Afghan women".

For whom, which women, what projects were given? So we return to the starting problem: how the Italian money is distributed and controlled?

There is no response on the Italian Cooperation website.

Who is Fawzia Koofi?

Who really is this woman who enjoys so much trust from international institutions?

She presents herself and is presented everywhere as a defender of Afghan women rights, but was and is she really one?

Wikipedia reports that she began her political career in 2001, after the fall of the Taliban, working with UNICEF. From 2005 to 15 August 2021 she was the Member of Parliament (Wolesi Jirga) for Badakhshan district and the first female Vice President of the National Assembly. In 2020, she was one of the 21-member team that was supposed to represent the Afghan government in peace negotiations with the Taliban. She also considers the defense of women's and children's rights as a priority and she supported it in Afghanistan with various initiatives.

But we discover that in 2015

the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan, RAWA,

had published an article on website where attacks her, revealing a series of facts about her and her family and inform us that she is a very well-known and important political figure in Afghanistan and she was responsible of abuses and corruption.

The article shows how her family has always been interested in politics, despite never having joined a specific party but always ready to support the politicians in power who could help them in their business. Fawzia Koofi and her sister have always used their political power to get their brothers out of trouble, often prosecuted for drug trafficking, rape, etc. She has always taken advantage of her position to keep for herself or for her own business a good part of the Western funds she obtain to build schools or houses for poor people. She often hid behind the defense of women's and children's rights to use the funds provided through NGOs... All this has been denounced, accompanied by photos and documents, by the inhabitants of the remote region where she was a parliamentary representative.

This declaration had been used by Cisda to notify by letter the Mayor of Turin Fassino and his council, who had financed, through Italian Cooperation funds, the Afghan association supporting women's rights, SSSPO, of which Fawzia Koofi was the representative. The letter was showing the inappropriateness of this financing action. But no answer was given to us.

Even in recent times, we must not forget that Fawzia Koofi in the last years of the republican government was a parliamentarian and vice president of the National Assembly and therefore was responsible, as much as the men, for having supported that corrupt and incapable government. The government wanted and supported by USA, made up of warlords who often had notoriety and power not for their political skills but for the brutal acts committed. The role of women does not lessen the responsibility of having supported it for personal or family interest.

Fawzia Koofi also endorsed US agreements with Taliban in 2020 to allow their return to power, participating directly in Doha negotiations thus providing an appearance of democracy that fell entirely on Afghan people, while the members of government fled the country as she did.

So her activism makes us thinking more to

a former political leader interested in renewing the role she lost with exile than in providing concrete aid to the suffering women and people in Afghanistan.

But why, despite her background, she is now wanted by all international institutions and held up as an example of representative and spokesperson for the freedom of Afghan women, instead of set aside like all the other Afghan politicians, considered servants of the republican government wanted and supported by USA when they handed over power to the Taliban?

Why such a person

- a woman who can be used as a success of the West, an expert in politics, willing to do anything and capable of adapting to the political interests of those who support her and riding the symbolic objective of defending the rights of Afghan women

- is convenient in this moment for Western politics?

Both to show democracy of the West in crisis by the long failed war in Afghanistan and the flight of USA and its allies, and to have women available when the Taliban should fall or at least accept some form of female openness. Thus public opinion can believe that openness to women 's rights is possible even with the Taliban in power. Opening that justifies the start of negotiations for the reintegration of Afghanistan into the global economic and geopolitical games even with the Taliban in power.

International institutions, with their NGOs and all organizations supported by them, show that they do not care about the rights of Afghan women who live in Afghanistan and fight and resist daily against Taliban and their restrictive, repressive, fundamentalist and inhuman measures.

What interests them are the women who are part of the ruling class:

preparing a ruling class that shares Western economic and political interests, so to have members who will realize them.

The impact of these policies on the people - poverty, hunger, crushing of rights... - is not important for them but the local government has to think about.

Category: Women, RAWA News, Corruption - Views: 1349