Malalai Joya to l’AD: “The US and NATO Have Turned Afghanistan into a Terrorist paradise”
Text in English revised by Nora Hoppe.
Interview conducted by Cristina Mirra.
What does it mean to live in Afghanistan today?
A: The security situation throughout Afghanistan is dire; all Afghans live under a reign of fear. The Taliban, ISIS, the warlords, the occupation forces all play a part in making Afghanistan a totally unsafe place for its people. In big cities like Kabul, suicide bombings, the terrorising of well-known persons and other forms of brutalities are frequent, and most of the victims are the poor. When people leave their homes, they cannot be sure if they will return alive.
To be precise, Afghanistan was actually much safer under the rule of the mediaeval Taliban in 2001 than it is today, because, at that time, people were oppressed by only one enemy, but in the past 20 years people have been at the mercy of many enemies. They have been the victims of US/NATO drones, various warlords, the Taliban and other terrorist groups inhabiting rural areas. If we are not safe in Kabul, one certainly cannot be expected to be safe in remote villages. For example, on 21 April 2021, three youths were beheaded in their home in Kabul.
Today my people are suffering from injustice, insecurity, corruption, unemployment, poverty, drug addiction, the subjugation of women, various human rights violations etc.
Could you tell us about the roots of this never-ending war? Do you think that the international mainstream press reported these accurately?
Right after the 9/11 tragedy, the US/NATO invaded Afghanistan under the banner of "the war on terror", but the past 20 years have only proven that this was an act of deception – especially for Afghan people... because the terrorists are stronger than ever today. The US war was actually waged against our poor people, and hundreds of thousands were either killed in their bombing of villages or attacks carried out by terrorist groups.
In the past 20 years the US have killed around a million Afghan people -directly or indirectly... They have dropped MOABs, cluster bombs and white phosphorus... they have cultivated a mafia and corrupted the economy of Afghanistan... they have polluted our environment and transformed Afghanistan into the drug capital of the world.
Every aspect of life in Afghanistan is a tragedy today. Afghanistan lies at the bottom of the world rankings on women’s rights, justice, life expectancy, press freedom, human development, education, health care, prosperity etc.
Therefore, I believe the slogan of the so-called “war on terror” was the biggest lie of the century.
We now face two main enemies: imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism. And they are both two sides of one coin that turned Afghanistan into a graveyard over the past decades.
What effects did the American presence have on Afghanistan?And in an interview for the Italian newspaper "Left" you spoke of the presence of the Italian military in your country: "Even the Italians have the their responsibility. Your soldiers kill too. I have evidence showing how your public funds are being used to finance the warlords to their advantage. Your governments know it, and the NATO forces know it. I have evidence that heroin trafficking is also being protected."
If we have a look at the history of the US in Afghanistan since the Cold War it is one full of bloodshed and barbarism. During the Cold War, the US created, nourished and empowered the extremist brutal jihadists (the warlords, the Taliban, ISIS) etc., and this policy still continues.
Unfortunately US/NATO's war crimes are not only limited to Afghanistan; they also waged criminal wars on Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc.
In these past 20 years they created a safe heaven in Afghanistan for terrorists so that they could then export terrorism to China and Central Asia – for the purpose of destabilising their rivals. The US does not intend to defeat terrorist groups in Afghanistan, because they are being used to advance their foreign policies in Asia. Indeed, the White House is the "godfather" of Islamic terrorism.
They committed countless massacres and poured hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money into the pockets of bloodthirsty warlords and the Taliban over the past 20 years.
Afghanistan produces over 90% of the world's opium. It was US policy to groom Afghanistan for drug-production, because they reap billions of dollars every year from the Afghan opium industry while the lives of our poor people are being destroyed. I believe opium is more dangerous than Al-Qaeda and terrorism, and that it kills and destroys the lives of the people more than war.
Biden recently stated that the US is planning to leave the region... What scenarios does it envision once it exits from this quagmire that is "Afghanistan" – that some have coined "America's new Vietnam"?
In Vietnam, the US faced a progressive force fighting for liberation and independence under the leadership of communists. But in Afghanistan, the US has been fighting a "Tom and Jerry game" with a mediaeval Taliban, who are the creation of the White House with the help of Pakistani ISI. So we cannot compare it to the heroic fight of the Vietnam people.
Despite a future withdrawal of US troops, I believe the US political, intelligence-seeking and economic presence will last for many years to come in Afghanistan. The US will create a puppet government to advance its own interests. The US will not leave Afghanistan entirely, as they still need a geopolitical base in our land to fight their rival powers, especially China and Russia.
If you could speak directly to the United States government, what would you ask of them with regard to your country?
I would ask them to withdraw their troops soon and entirely and also to stop their support and backing of fundamentalist groups. I would also ask the US public to bring their leaders to justice for their war crimes in Afghanistan... for having waged the longest war in its history, in order to safeguard the profits of the big corporations.
...And to the Italian government?
My message would be the same for all NATO countries, including the Italian government, who followed in the footsteps of US in the past 20 years.
What is life like for women in Afghanistan today? What is the situation of their health care? And their education?
The situation of Afghan women today is as catastrophic as it was during the primitive and misogynist regime under the Taliban. Only a few "showpiece Afghan women" are portrayed in the Western media as symbols of the “Afghan women's liberation”, but these handful of women can never represent our women, because most of them are part of the problem and even linked to dangerous groups.
The stoning to death, the prosecutions, the public beatings of women - by the Taliban, local warlords and ISIS, the drug addiction, the forced-marriage, the child brides, the acid attacks on girls, the domestic violence, the attacks on school girls, etc. – these are all sky-rocketing now.
For example, a woman was recently flogged in public in a district of the Herat province... four young female journalists were killed in the Jalalabad province... and, in another case on 23 March, 2021, a 9-year-old girl studying in a religious school was brutally raped. We have countless examples that demonstrate that Afghan women are living in hell.
Regarding women's health care: last year a maternity hospital in Kabul was attacked by the terrorist Taliban, and many innocent pregnant women and new-born babies were killed.
The education situation is heart-wrenching, as well. You may have heard that last year on 4 November, 2020, the University of Kabul was attacked in daylight, during which around 40 students, most of them women, were killed.
The puppet government under Ashraf Ghani also follows an anti-women policy. A few weeks ago the minister of education (who is a US-educated woman) announced that schoolgirls over 12 would no longer be permitted to sing in any formal ceremonies, as they only spark protests in Afghanistan.
As long as these extremists are in power, wearing their masks of democracy, they will never allow our people to gain empowerment through education – which is essential for resisting occupation and fundamentalism and would provide a gateway for the emancipation of Afghanistan.
How is your daily life?
My life remains at risk, just as it was in the past years. I am obliged to live underground, and, when I move from one place to another, I need to be accompanied by bodyguards. Despite all the challenges, hardships and risks I’ve never remained silent, because I believe that what I am doing, however small it is, is planting seeds for future generations to live in an independent, secular and peaceful Afghanistan.
Looking into the future, what road would you like your country to take?
I would like Afghanistan to be free from all the germs of fundamentalism and occupation. I wish all of my people to be empowered by education, and I dream of genuine democracy, peace, and social justice for a brighter future for Afghanistan.
An informed and aware public would have a more effective influence on policies. So, would you like to say anything to the British and US governments about Julian Assange... and also to the mainstream media, journalists and public figures, who refuse to mention him?
And, finally, what do you have to say about the trans-Atlantic colonialist occupations of the Middle East?
On behalf of the oppressed people of Afghanistan, I strongly condemn the US, British and other foreign governments for what they did and are doing to Julian Assange. Their actions have been in total opposition to the very notions of democracy and freedom of speech. Julian Assange and those who put their lives at risk by speaking the truth and exposing the war crimes and transgressions of their governments are representing the consciousness and conscience of humanity. Julian Assange's voice is our voice... and, standing in international solidarity with him, I demand his immediate release, because I believe that Julian Assange and those who seek the truth are the true heroes and symbols of courage and the freedom of speech.
The arrest of Julian Assange proves precisely that the media is not free, that it is ultimately only a tool in the hands of the warmongers to spread propaganda and to cover up the truth.
Regarding the trans-Atlantic occupation of the Middle East, I strongly condemn it, because I believe democracy is never achieved through the barrel of a gun, colonialist occupation and war.
No nation can deliver liberation to another nation, and the past 20 years of Afghanistan's history have confirmed this claim.
In every single country in which the US has intervened the outcomes were only death and destruction.
Therefore, I hope the international solidarity of all justice-loving, peace-loving leftists and progressive movements, individuals, parties and activists of the world will join hands together and raise their voices strongly against war and corruption – in the name of peace, democracy and social justice.
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