Afghan Feminist: Why Foreign Troops Should Leave

Source: Green Left Weekly

Malalai Joya, now 32, was the youngest woman elected to the Afghan Parliament in 2005. A feminist activist who has defied the Taliban, Joya is also an outspoken opponent of the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan. Joya says the war is a crime against her people that is propping up corrupt warlords and fundamentalists no better than the Taliban.


The speech below is an excerpt of an address Joya gave in Vancouver on October 12 at an event organised by the Canadian Coalition. It is reprinted from


In the United States, many looked to the ballot box and hoped for real change when Barack Obama was elected President in 2008.

To be honest, I never expected that he would be any different for Afghanistan than George Bush. The truth is that Obama’s war policies have turned out to be even more of a nightmare than most people expected.

Obama talked a lot about hope and change, but for Afghanistan the only change has been for the worse.

After almost two years of Obama, the number of US soldiers occupying Afghanistan has more than doubled. And the number of drone attacks in Pakistan has increased.

Obama’s so-called troop surge has resulted in increased Afghan civilian deaths.

The documents released by Wikileaks prove what we have been saying about war in Afghanistan. There are more massacres by NATO forces than they wanted us to believe. Now the whole world should know this war is a disaster.

These are the reasons that, throughout Afghanistan, more and more people are taking to the streets to protest the US occupation.

Obama’s surge of the war also puts more from the US and other occupying nations at risk. Why are Obama and [Canadian Prime Minister Stephen] Harper wasting so much money on this war when they cannot give jobs or even houses to their own poor people?

It has been five years since I was elected to the Afghan parliament. I faced many obstacles just to get elected.

[In parliament] they cut off my microphone. They threatened me with death and illegally removed [me] from my seat.

We had a new election in September, but I chose not to participate. Amid the chaos of occupation and this puppet regime, which is the rule of drug-mafia and warlords, any hope I once had for using the ballot box to achieve change in Afghanistan is gone.

As the whole world saw, the 2009 presidential election in Afghanistan was a total fraud. The whole world knows there was ballot stuffing, vote buying and huge corruption.

And there was no real choice anyway. The two candidates were enemies of our people.

The only [chance] with this vote was for a new saddle for the same donkey. It turned out we were stuck with the same donkey, wearing the same saddle — [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai and his corrupt brother in Kandahar province, Wali Karzai, who Afghans call “small Bush”.

The September 18 parliamentary election was also a bad joke. According to the news, in one district in Paktika province, the voter turnout was 626%! There was a great deal of buying and selling of votes.

Over the past five years, the US and allies made warlords more powerful so they can now even more easily highjack the election results.

It was a selection, not an election. Most members of parliament are law-breakers not law makers.

This time, many refused to vote. Afghans don’t want so-called democracy and so-called elections where guns and money have the first and last word.

The Canadian government calls this “democracy” and “progress”. But Afghans call this a bad joke.

When no justice can be achieved through the ballot box, the people must find alternative ways to fight for their rights. We will never rest for a moment.

Today, the Canadian government is trying to deceive the Canadian people about the war in Afghanistan.

Harper is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. On one side, he is saying Canadian soldiers will leave Afghanistan in 2011. But on the other side, Harper tells the US and NATO, don’t worry, Canada will stay with troops and help in different ways to occupy Afghanistan.

And Harper is saying that Canada will stay to do “training” of troops of puppet Karzai regime.

We Afghan people don’t need any more “training” from Canadian government after 2011.

We Afghans don’t want any more bombing after 2011. We Afghans don’t want any more torture by NATO and Afghan puppet forces. We Afghans don’t want any more occupation by NATO.