Don’t betray Afghan women in the name of “peace”!

January 27, 2010 at 9:45 pm (Afghanistan, islamism, Jackie Mcdonough, terror, thuggery, women)

Peace is – generally – good, and war is – always – bad. There can be little doubt that to achieve something that can be called “peace” in Afghanistan some distasteful deals will have to be done. Just as in order to get rid of the Taliban govenment in 2001, the West had to do deals with warlords who were little better (if any better) than the Taliban.

But as tomorrow’s London Conference on Afghanistan assembles, and talk of a deal with at least some sections of the Taliban is being heard from “realists” in Washington,  London and Kabul, it’s worth reminding ourselves  just how barbaric the Talibs were and still are  (not least because the Pilgers and Corbyns of this world have started describing them as, to all intents and purposes, ‘freedom fighters’):

Zarmeena is being excuted by Taliban

And it’s worth remembering that whatever the costs in human terms of the war (and I write as someone who opposed it from the start), women in Afghanistan have gained significant rights (especially in education) over the last nine years, despite savage attacks from the Talibs – including the dreadful murders of brave women teachers (torn – literally – limb from limb) and disfiguring acid attacks upon women students, by these gynophobic rural fascists.

Most Afghan women want peace – but not (one suspects) at any price. Homa Sabri, national officer-in-charge of UNIFEM (the United Nations Development Fund For Women) says: “I have great fears, and I am greatly confused…2001 was a very clear signal that there is no more room for conservative elements to rule in Afghanistan.”

Mary Akrami, Director of the Afghan Womens Skills Development Centre says: “Afghan women have the most to gain from peace and the most to lose from any form of reconciliation compromising women’s human rights. There cannot be national security without women’s security, there can be no peace when women’s lives are are fraught with violence, when our children can’t go to schools, when we cannot step onto the streets for fear of acid attacks.”

UNIFEM and other Afghan women’s and human rights organisations point out that the London conference is hosted and chaired exclusively by men: “Peace is impossible when half the population is excluded!” they say, and have issued this statement, including the following demands:

* Ensuring women’s representaion in peace processs. Consistent with constitutional guarantees for women’s representation, women must comprise at least 25 percent of any peace process, including any proposed upcoming peace jirgas. They must be represented in any national and local security policy-making forums, such as the Afghan President’s National Security Council.

* Guaranteeing that reconciliation protects women’s rights. The government and international community must secure and monitor women’s rights in all reconciliation initiatives so that the status of women is not bargained away in any short-term effort to achieve stability.

*Implementing a gender-responsive security policy. All efforts to enhance security in Afghanistan must better serve women.


Oisika Chakrabarti, UNIFEM, +1 347 449-2260;


  1. davidconquistadortaylor said,

    As in Africa, when women get sick of the stupid violence they will take up arms and defend themselves (or at least leave) like they should have done the first time any hand or a religion was raised against them. When their oppression is no longer tolerable they will do something about it. Women make up more than half the population in almost every society. Pack up and move – the 27,000 Lost Boys marched over 1,000 miles to get away – just think what the impact would be if these Afghan, Arab and Muslim women stopped supporting their husbands and simply moved away and left them to fight over their backward, superstitious and bloody sandbox.

  2. maxdunbar said,

    Another point is that the latest polls say that most Afghans want us there.

    Again, the antiwar faction is not listening to the people it claims to speak for.

  3. Terry Glavin said,

    More like this, please, and thankyou, comrade Jim. You would do well to scare up some politics along these lines from AWL. The secularist, democrats, and feminists of Afghanistan are staring into the abyss.

    Warm regards,


  4. Jenny said,

    Pilger’s kinda right about the U.S. though:

    Fortunately, the ww4 report supports RAWA who are against the America occupation and taliban rule.

  5. Jenny said,

    P.S. I don’t think Pilger’s saying the taliban are a-okay either much as I often find his presentation rather smug.

  6. Terry Glavin said,

    Jenny: “Fortunately, the ww4 report supports RAWA who are against the America occupation and taliban rule.”

    Even more fortunately, RAWA’s support base consists almost solely of white people from the tonier districts of American cities, while among Afghan women, the absurdly marginal neo-Maoist relic is regarded as ridiculous, among those who can even remember RAWA at all.

  7. Sarah B said,

    Good post. @davidconquistadortaylor – I assume it’s almost impossible for women in Afghanistan simply to move away – for all sorts of practical (and emotional) reasons.

  8. charliethechulo said,

    I think you’re too kind to Pilger, Jenny. I read the following (from the article linked to above) as tacit support for the Talibs:

    “…but it failed in Vietnam, where the CIA’s “Strategic Hamlet Program” was designed to corral and divide the southern population and so defeat the Vietcong – the Americans’ catch-all term for the resistance, similar to “Taliban”.

    “Behind much of this are the Israelis, who have long advised the Americans in both the Iraq and the Afghanistan adventures. Ethnic cleansing, wall-building, checkpoints, collective punishment and constant surveillance – these are claimed as Israeli innovations that have succeeded in stealing most of Palestine from its native people. And yet, for all their suffering, the Palestinians have not been divided irrevocably and they endure as a nation against all odds.

    “The most telling forerunners of the Obama Plan, which the Nobel Peace Prize-winner and his general and his PR men prefer we forget, are those that failed in Afghanistan itself. The British in the 19th century and the Soviets in the 20th century attempted to conquer that wild country by ethnic cleansing and were seen off, though after terrible bloodshed. Imperial cemeteries are their memorials. People power, sometimes baffling, often heroic, remains the seed beneath the snow, and invaders fear it.”

    Note the scare-quotes round “Taliban” and also the later use of the term “people power.” Also remember Pilger’s statement (about the barbaric and anti-woking class Iraqi “resistance”) that we shouldn’t be “too choosy” about supporting people who fight America. He really *is* a crude, unhinged “My Enemy’s Enemy” man.

  9. Terry Glavin said,

    Another great friend of the Afghan people, Alexander Cockburn, once expressed his solidarity with the Afghan struggle this way:

    “We all have to go one day, but pray God let it not be over Afghanistan. An unspeakable country filled with unspeakable people, sheepshaggers and smugglers … I yield to none in my sympathy to those prostrate beneath the Russian jackboot, but if ever a country deserved rape it’s Afghanistan.'”

  10. Jenny said,

    Cockburn scares the shit out of me. I hope you’re jokingly approving that.

  11. Jenny said,

    I guess you have a point there Charlie.

  12. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Terry – that’s a top quote from Cockburn. Where’s it from?

  13. Terry Glavin said,

    Cockburn quote:

    From an article in the January 20, 1980, issue of the Village Voice, according to Robert D. Kaplan’s book, Soldiers of God.

  14. Jenny said,

    Oh fucking hell..

  15. Jenny said,

    there’s also this:

    Can we not go the Soviet route? Please?

  16. Babs said,

    yes it is odd about RAWA. They sent a circular a while back urging troop withdrawal despite admitting that a pullout would be disastrous
    Malali Joya is convinced that the US are in the country in order to build that fabled oil pipeline and no other reason.
    I did actually respond to that last one letting them know that actually, lots of people in the west urge a troop pullout and start muttering thing like ‘you can’t go round changing people’s culture we’ve got no right to tell people how to live’, and that there’s lots of talk of nice taliban as a precursor to a hasty payoff and a sharp exit, but they haven’t replied yet.

  17. Richard Kane said,

    A warlord the US supports had a young woman whipped for refusing to marry him. Many others were simply raped by less important officialism and if they or their relative’s pressed charges, they or their relatives were arrested on trumped up charges. Even the UN looked the other way when husband’s voted for their wives.

    One of the tenants of just war theory was that victory was possible. President Hamid Karzai’s brother rented property to the CIA and payed the local Taliban militia not to blow it up. Now the US is handing drone missiles to Pakistan. The US is arming everyone, and the al Qaeda is giving women liberty in heaven after they blow themselves up here on earth.

    Anyway I really don’t think endless more war if inevitable. Please google Peace Movement betrays Afghan President Karzai and find out that peace is both possible and preferable even though a few women who live in downtown Kabul will be worse off for a while.


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