Heroine Malalai Joya in the UK

Malalai JoyaMalalai Joya

Malalai Joya, has written an article criticising the present Afghan war and tells the story of her life here. She was the second recipient of the Anna Politkovskaya Award for human rights campaigning (see right). It is instructive to read her views in the same week that David Milliband is advocating talking with the 'moderate' Taliban. Perhaps he should have a chat with her. She writes:

In 2005, I was the youngest person elected to the new Afghan parliament. Women like me, running for office, were held up as an example of how the war in Afghanistan had liberated women. But this democracy was a facade, and the so-called liberation a big lie.

On behalf of the long-suffering people of my country, I offer my heartfelt condolences to all in the UK who have lost their loved ones on the soil of Afghanistan. We share the grief of the mothers, fathers, wives, sons and daughters of the fallen. It is my view that these British casualties, like the many thousands of Afghan civilian dead, are victims of the unjust policies that the Nato countries have pursued under the leadership of the US

You must understand that the government headed by Hamid Karzai is full of warlords and extremists who are brothers in creed of the Taliban. Many of these men committed terrible crimes against the Afghan people during the civil war of the 1990s.

Karzai has named two notorious warlords, Fahim and Khalili, as his running mates for the upcoming presidential election.

For expressing my views I have been expelled from my seat in parliament, and I have survived numerous assassination attempts. The fact that I was kicked out of office while brutal warlords enjoyed immunity from prosecution for their crimes should tell you all you need to know about the "democracy" backed by Nato troops.

Glyn Strong writes another article here.

Ms Joya is sceptical of the surge in the south of her country. "Helmand is not the whole of Afghanistan. Even if they annihilate Taliban there, they should not call it a success because Taliban are logistically and militarily stabilised in hundreds of other parts of Afghanistan... and growing stronger as each day dawns."

She has often been accused of identifying problems but not offering solutions (the assumption being that if US and British troops pulled out, Afghanistan would descend into chaos, a bloody free-for-all). But she is unrelenting: "The current situation is already quite catastrophic, it cannot get any worse. The Taliban have taken over many districts and are nourished as each hour mounts."

"But it is the responsibility of our own people to fight for their rights, to achieve values like democracy and women's rights, human rights in our country. It's a prolonged struggle, it's a risky struggle full of hardships and challenges, but I trust in my people."

Ms Joya has written a book called Raising My Voice and has been campaigning for civil rights and against the war and the present corrupt government even before she was elected as an MP in 2005.

See also here.