Afghan Member of Parliament Malalai Joya was featured on Democracy Now on 3 October. She discussed the effects of the US war in and occupation of Afghanistan, stating “imperialism and fundamentalism have joined hands” in the country.
To many in the US, such a notion might seem strange and outlandish, yet one need not search back in history far at all to see that it should be anything but. In Operation Cyclone, Reagan funneled over $1 billion to the Afghan mujahideen—the very extremist militant group that later would morph into the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda. Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto warned Bush, Sr. “You are creating a Frankenstein” when he continued such policies. It is safe to say he ignored her admonition.
The following are highlights from the interview with MP Joya (emphasis mine):
Ahead of next week’s 12th anniversary of what has become the longest war in U.S. history, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the United States is seeking to sign an accord to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan for the indefinite future. The United States plans to pull out the bulk of its 57,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but the Pentagon wants to retain a smaller force of around 10,000 forces after 2014. We are joined by Afghan activist and former member of Parliament, Malalai Joya, author of the book, “A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice.” A survivor of numerous attempts on her life, Time magazine has named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. “We need the support of justice-loving people of the U.S. to join their hands with us,” Joya says. “Unfortunately, we see that today imperialism and fundamentalism have joined hands.”
MALALAI JOYA: Yeah, I said the truth and exposed the mask of fundamentalist warlords, who are mentally same like Taliban but only physically has been changed and imposed on Afghan people. They were control Afghanistan. Still they are in power. And as I exposed their mask, they could not tolerate it and expelled me from the Loya Jirga and even not allow me to come back. They have told me if I say apologize, I can come back. As I never said apologize and will say apologize, and they must say apologize to suffer oppressed people of Afghanistan, especially unfortunate women, that committed many crimes against them and still continue to their crimes and fascism under the name of women rights, human rights and democracy.
AMY GOODMAN: So, explain, as we move into the 12th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, what has happened to your country. First of all, what are you doing there today? You’re no longer a member of Parliament.
MALALAI JOYA: Yeah, I am there underground, activist, and have close contact with my people.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “underground”?
MALALAI JOYA: Underground, I mean despite wearing burqa and have bodyguards, not safe moving from one place to another place, that to not be easy target. As last year on 10 of March, these terrorists attacked my house and office in Farah province, that 12 of my bodyguards brutally has been injured. And this is about seven assassination attempts they do against me. That’s why I have to be underground. I mean that I can’t have office or a house, that [inaudible] much easier for an activist to have it. But unfortunately, for security reasons, it’s not only me, there is many other democrat men and women activists that are risking their life, struggling, but have to be underground.
And regarding your question about consequences of the 12 years of occupation of U.S. and NATO, unfortunately, was more bloodshed, crimes, women rights, human rights violations, looting of our resource and changing of our country into mafia state, as during these 12 bloody years tens of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed by occupation forces and terrorist groups. And they have changed Afghanistan to the center of the drugs. That’s more than 90 percent of opium produced from Afghanistan, as I believe opium is even more dangerous than al-Qaeda and war as it destroy and spoils the life of Afghans. Around two million Afghan addicted, most of them are women and children. And also, there’s a report Afghanistan is the second most corrupt country in the world. And according to UNIFEM, Afghanistan is the worst place to be a woman. And many example like this, this list can be prolonged, that they unfortunately committed crimes against our people. Still this war, disgusting war, is going on, and even right now trying to negotiate with terrorist Taliban, as these 12 years were saying to our people, “We are there to fight against Taliban and al-Qaeda,” but now U.S. officials and puppet regime of Karzai shamelessly publicly they say that Taliban are not their enemies anymore and going to negotiate with them, invite them to join this puppet, corrupt mafia regime.
tip of the iceberg example of the brutalities and war crime of the U.S. and also these fundamentalist warlords, even Taliban, who both of them their godfather is the U.S.
And regarding the withdrawal of the troops, just a few thousands of the troops will withdraw, to deceive justice-loving people of the U.S. and around the world, as they’re under pressure of justice-loving people of these countries because of this endless war there, but their military bases remain there, as nine major military bases now. They are working on it and going to legalize this. And also, that they raise this propaganda that civil war will happen if we leave Afghanistan. Behind of this, also the hand of the U.S., to make afraid the people to accept these military bases. I believe as long as in a country which has foreign military bases, U.S. military bases, they can’t expect that they have independence.
And same in my country, when we don’t have independence, talking about democracy, women rights, human rights is just a painful joke. And also that everyone know now—it became clear for Afghan people, too—that the U.S. is there for their own strategic, regional, economic and political interests. They don’t take care to the well wishes of these Afghan people, and they are there for their own evil agendas, as now trying to bring these terrorist Taliban also in power under the name of national peace reconciliation, as I believe such kind of so-called peace will be more dangerous than the current war, because the result of this peace will be—become united the enemies of Afghan people—Taliban, warlords, these drug lords, terrorists. And also the puppets of Russia, call them—our people call them Khalki and Parchami—as recently attorney general of Holland released a list of 5,000 innocent people, most of them intellectuals, who were massacred and killed by a puppet of Russia, as now they have high posts in Karzai’s regime. So U.S. trying to make more powerful their puppet regime, then also their military bases remain there, then even indirectly and also in a different way, they continue to their barbarism and control Afghanistan.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think the U.S. forces should remain there?
MALALAI JOYA: They must leave Afghanistan as soon as possible. They should leave Afghanistan now, as they occupied our country. We have proudful history, never accept occupation. And they still push more Afghanistan toward the Stone Ages by supporting these terrorists, as the presence of these troops make much harder our struggle for justice and democracy, and create more obstacles for true democratic-minded elements.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the night raids, the Joint Special Operations Command, JSOC? What’s happening now in Afghanistan with U.S. troops there, what they are doing?
MALALAI JOYA: Yeah, as I said, U.S. troop is there for this criminal war, since the war, as they occupied our country, will not leave Afghanistan voluntarily soon, as situation for millions of Afghan by presence of tens of thousands troops is like hell, especially in Farah provinces. And women, still they are the most and prime victims, and they—for example, rapes, domestic violences, acid attacks, burning the girls’ schools, and many other violence is increasing more and more, as right now I’m following the case of Shakila, a 16-years-old girl who has been raped and killed by a member of the provincial council and three other parlimentarian so-called member of Parliament. They are partner in this case in trying to forge the medical report of the raped girl. And even a few kilometers away from Kabul just a few months ago, a [inaudible] young girl has been prosecuted publicly by one of the criminal fundamentalist party, Hezb-e Islamic party, that run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, this terrorist. Also Taliban in different provinces, they are doing public executions, without at least to bring these women to this fundamentalist or mafia court that we have. And many other example like this, that they control Afghanistan day by day, they are getting powerful. That’s why we want the withdrawal of the troops as soon as possible from Afghanistan, because they double our miseries and sorrows of our people. And if, honestly, they leave, at least these warlords and these Taliban, these terrorists, will not be more powerful, to be easier for them to eliminate democratic people of Afghanistan and suffer or kill innocent people there.
AMY GOODMAN: Why are you here, Malalai Joya, in the United States?
MALALAI JOYA: Yeah, I’m here to talk about the 12th anniversary of the U.S. and NATO occupation and bring the message of suffering people of Afghanistan to justice-loving people of the U.S. As always, I say that U.S. government has two faces. One is the dirty imperialist government of the U.S. Another is the great people like Bradley Manning, like Edward Snowden, [inaudible], like Daniel Ellsberg, and many others who stand up against the wrong policies of their government, these war crimes and warmongers, and they live in the hearts of millions of democratic justice-loving people around the world, especially oppressed people of the world. And they are hero for my people. We need the support and solidarity of justice-loving people of the U.S. to join their hands with us. Unfortunately, we say that today imperialism and fundamentalism have joined hands to lead the world toward barbarism. We should fight against it, even if it happens in Iran or Iraq, in Palestine, Libya, Syria, etc. We need to be united and to do—and continue to our struggle against these warmongers. And, fortunately, we see the justice-loving people around the world, and especially in the U.S., they are here. Glorious uprising are happening against the economic crisis and these warmongers, which is a big source of hope for the future.