Here’s a rarity. An Afghan politician calling for the removal of foreign troops. Note the sneering dismissal of her calls for withdrawal by the “balanced” ABC journalist:
MARK COLVIN: Not even the optimists claim the war in Afghanistan is going brilliantly.
The NATO force of which Australia is a part is still there largely because of a belief that withdrawal, by bringing back the Taliban, would be even worse.
But some in Afghanistan who oppose the Taliban still think America, Britain, Australia and the other NATO allies should leave.
One of them is Malalai Joya, an Afghan woman who became an MP, then was suspended because of her continued and outspoken attacks on warlords, criminals and drug lords, including in the government.
She’s in Melbourne to give a public lecture at Deakin University on Saturday morning, as part of their series: ‘The World In Crisis – business as usual?’
I asked Malalai Joya if NATO’s withdrawal wouldn’t mean the return of the Taliban with all that that entailed.
MALALAI JOYA: Today the Taliban already in 80 per cent of Afghanistan there is official reports that they already control Afghanistan. Photocopy of the Taliban today already they are in power. This nine years they’ve become powerful. So if they continue this wrong policy they will be more powerful and it will be more easier for them to eliminate democratic-minded supporters we have in Afghanistan more than party intellectuals we have in Afghanistan.
MARK COLVIN: There are different types of control. Nine years ago you must remember what things were like under the Taliban.
MALALAI JOYA: Yes it is true that for example that for the period of the Taliban we had few schools but today we have but this is not only a military war this is a war of propaganda as well; $60 billion they gave them in the name of education, orphans, (inaudible) the school etc. to such a corrupt mafia government of Hamid Karzai, most of money has been looted by these warlords. A few schools they built…
MARK COLVIN: Some people must be going to school?
MALALAI JOYA: The few schools they built to deceive people around the world through mainstream media. They betrayed the true (inaudible) as well for example never gave reports about the resistance of the people coming onto the streets, fed up with occupation from this massacres, never gave reports against violence against the women that happened, for example even the messages from the miseries of the woman I mean US and NATO.
MARK COLVIN: So are you saying that things would actually be no worse if the NATO troops pulled out?
MALALAI JOYA: No, let me tell you it’s not an easy struggle to fight against warlords and Taliban, that’s why we’re asking for solidarity of democratic minded intellectuals, parties, movements around the world anti-war movement.
MARK COLVIN: But solidarity to do what? Solidarity from intellectuals is not going to stop the Taliban coming back to power.
MALALAI JOYA: You know now intellectuals do struggle together with people because intellectuals this supportive view we have in people they are the leaders of the people. A real alternative for the future of Afghanistan.
They are able to fundamental mentalities but the government do not support them. Taliban and also warlords they eliminate them. Let’s support them; through them support my people that’s the problem today in Afghanistan that only they support the enemies of my people then the say to the people of the west we are trying to bring democracy in Afghanistan; democracy never came by cluster bomb, by (inaudible) by war, by occupation.
In my own province in Faral (phonetic), last year in May American troops they did bomb in one day 150 civilians have been killed.
MARK COLVIN: Do you think that war will continue for the next 10 or 20 years or do you have any prospect of actual peace?
MALALAI JOYA: You know this war, nine years in Afghanistan was just a disaster and it must be end, that’s the only solution for Afghanistan. First the troops out of Afghanistan, stop arming the warlords, not negotiate with the Taliban.
MARK COLVIN: But you seem to be saying the alternatives are either war or civil war is what you’re saying?
MALALAI JOYA: Today there’s already a civil war. We’re living like we’re in hell. No question, don’t see only Kabul some school they built or some university but in most provence of Afghanistan just we have Janga (phonetic) laws like Taliban period.
For example two women recently have been lashed, a pregnant woman has been beaten by lashes in front of all people in Bodres (phonetic) province, even though she was pregnant and then the Taliban shot her in the head.
Just we have Janga law today in Afghanistan and the situation of the woman was a very good excuse for US and NATO to occupy my country and we have powerful history that we never accept occupation and they are freed from resistance of the people, that’s why now they invite Taliban.
MARK COLVIN: I still don’t see how it’s going to get better if the foreign forces actually leave.
MALALAI JOYA: In this nine years the foreign forces they proved to us the government these troops themselves they are the victim of the wrong policy of their government let me tell you first, but their government this nine years they were dishonest for us and they bombed us from the sky and killed my people and supporters told the enemies of my people.
So it’s better then that the leave. It makes no sense that they will be in Afghanistan otherwise Taliban will hate us. So we will fight one enemy instead of two; at least the occupation will be end when they leave Afghanistan.
MARK COLVIN: Malalai Joya who’s giving a lecture at Deacon University on Saturday morning.