Times of India, NOVEMBER 25, 2001
For women, Northern Alliance no better
N RAMACHANDRA RAO
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Revolutionary Association of Women in Afghanistan (RAWA) on Saturday made a fervent appeal to the international community working towards forming a new government in Afghanistan not to trust the Northern Alliance, which is equally fundamentalist and has a criminal background.
Here to participate in the 6th national conference of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), which began on Saturday, RAWA’s prominent personality Saher Saba appealed to countries to ensure that a secular and democratic government is installed in order to protect the basic rights of Afghan people, especially women, instead of blindly backing the “criminal’’ Northern Alliance. Rabbani does not deserve to be the president of Afghanistan. Instead, he should be brought to the International Court of Law for killing thousands of Afghani women,26-year-old Saher said. In an interview to The Times of India, Saher said RAWA’s participation in new government will depend on the kind of government it will be. She preferred former King Zaheer Shah to rule the country. Asked to comment on Osama bin Laden, she sharply reacted,”Osama is not Afghans’ guest. US is responsible for bin Laden and that so-called progressive country is not honest in eliminating terrorism. Fighting Osama doesn’t mean a fight against terrorism’’.
The US is trying to deceive the world by giving the impression that Afghanistan has been liberated from all evils. “It’s not true.Majority of women there are still scared about their future under Northern Alliance rule,’’ she said.
Times of India, NOVEMBER 28, 2001
Afghanistan’s curse is its location: RAWA
HYDERABAD: The curse of Afghanistan is its geographic location, Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) activist Saher Saba said on Monday. According to Saba, Afghanistan is the nerve centre of this part of the world.
Thus, the developed nations would like to have an access to Afghanistan, and a stake in its affairs, she explained to The Times of India.
Afghanistan links strategically important nations such as India, Pakistan and Central Asian Republics.
Saher Saba said the Russian invasion in 1979 was the beginning of a cat-fight between the opposing global powers which wanted to have control of Afghanistan. “Ever since this volcano has been burning us over,” she said.
That Afghanistan also has a climatic condition that favours harvesting opium has made it a haven for the international drug mafia.
And being a nation of perennial conflict, arms dealers too set camp. “Slowly, the gun-wielders took control of the law of the land,” Saba said.
The successional take over of power by the fundamentalist forces corrupted the vitals of the nation, Saba said.
One after the other, the economic, social, psychological and cultural activities of Afghanistan were shot down by the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.
According to Saba, the greatest tragedy of the Afghan woman is that the burqa issue had cornered the media glare in such manner that the Afghan’s hunger became a non-issue.“Afghan women can live with the purdah system but not without food,” she said.
Why can’t the public mobilise themselves, take arms and fight the fundamentalists whose strength is only in thousands? “To fight, people need food in their stomachs,” answered Saba.
According to Saba, the situation is much worse than as shown by the media. It has been more than two decades of suffering for the people of Afghanistan.“We are tired, but not too tired to fight. We cannot run from this, we will have to face it,”Saher Saba said.
Do the Afghan people want Northern Alliance in power and will the situation of women improve under their rule? “No, they are being propped to power by America who controls the ground situation now” Saba said. Once the bombs stop falling and the forces move out, the situation will be the same again, she shuddered.
Saher Saba, as her name means, for all the women of Afghanistan, is now awaiting the dawn of a new morning.
Times of India, NOVEMBER 28, 2001
Children in Afghanistan, fodder for terror machines
K P NARAYANA KUMAR
HYDERABAD: Two boys aged around 12 wield Kalashnikovs as one shouts at the other, “Me Taliban, you America.”This, says RAWA member Saher Saba, is the new game played by youngsters in Afghanistan — and the most dangerous outcome of ongoing war.
Our children have seen only a life of terror,” 28-old Saher of the Revolutionary Association of Women in Afghanistan (RAWA) asserts in a controlled voice to The Times of India. Saher was the to narrate her experiences and interact with the students of the Hyderabad Central University on Sunday.
Boys and girls at the age of six are forced to think where they can get their next meal from.A generation of children are losing their sunshine days to the and this spells doom not only for Afghanistan the entire world, the young RAWA member laments.
know it for a fact that more than half the Taliban or Northern Alliance foot soldiers wield the for a price,” she says.That these fundamentalist forces were able to recruit thousands of men speaks only of the religious bigotry that has pervaded the nation for years but also poverty.“When you do not have anything to eat you join the Taliban.These children too are fast becoming fodder for the terror machines,’’ Saher says.
According to her, the solution to the problems in Afghanistan is to have a UN peacekeeping force in the country, until democracy is ushered in. “If democracy is good for India and America why not for Afghanistan?,” she asks.
The forces which ruled Afghanistan were always financed and nurtured by the opposing world powers who have ensured that the democratic voice too is killed. “While India supports the Northern Alliance, Pakistan has links with the Taliban,’’ she remarks.
Institutions like the UNICEF are simply not doing the right kind of relief work. “The foodgrains and medicines they are supposedly giving free have to be bought at the market. The local recruits of these organisations are the Taliban’s candidates. So you can imagine how effective the relief work will be,” Saher says.
The toughest part of having to wait for the food packets air-dropped in Afghanistan, according the the revolutionary:“Not knowing which plane drops bombs and which one food.”