Anti-war Afghan MP Malalai Joya addressed a 300-strong Stop the War Coalition meeting at Conway Hall in central London recently.
She spoke alongside Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, a British soldier who is refusing to serve in an occupation.
Joya has survived several attempts on her life for her outspoken criticism of the US backed government and her withering criticism of the Taliban resistance.
She first came to world attention when she used her maiden speech in the Afghan parliament to attack the “warlords and criminals” in the government.
The US-sponsored government are drawn from among the Northern Alliance, a movement that was part of the Mujahadeen resistance to the Russian invasion but was opposed to the Taliban regime.
The Northern Alliance allied itself with the US during the invasion and formed the Afghan government.
Joya has become one of the fiercest critics of the occupation, and has travelled the world calling for occupation troops to withdraw. She is on tour to promote her new book, Raising My Voice.
Socialist Worker reprints edited highlights of her speech at Conway Hall below.
‘I would like to thank the Stop the War Coalition for giving me the opportunity to talk about the ongoing tragedy in my crying country.
I want to talk about the realities of the US and Nato’s so-called “war on terror”.
Let me say a few words to our brother the soldier, who is standing up against the war on behalf of other soldiers.
In my opinion, and the opinion of many people in Afghanistan, they are also victims of this war. They are victims of the wrong policies of their governments.
The US and Nato occupied our country in the name of “women’s rights” and “human rights”. They imposed their allies in the Northern Alliance on our people. That is why today’s situation in Afghanistan is close to a disaster.
I hope in the future that more soldiers who are in Afghanistan and Iraq will stand up to these wars and expose those crimes that are happening there.
I hope my book will open the minds and eyes of democratic people around the world, and give support to pro-democracy and anti-fundamentalist forces in my country.
Our history shows that we will never accept occupation. We want liberation.
In this book you can read the stories of the violence that is now happening under the name of “women’s rights” and “democracy” and “justice”.
Unfortunately there is no justice in Afghanistan. Today killing a woman is like killing a bird.
Men and women do not have liberation at all and suffer from injustice, insecurity, poverty, corruption and joblessness.
In the eight years since the beginning of this occupation, they have turned our country into a centre for opium production.
These drugs are turning up on the street of the US and Europe to destroy peoples lives.
Millions of dollars in drug money end up in the pockets of the Taliban. And the brother of president Hamid Karzai is a famous drugs trafficker.
I am sure the millions in aid coming from the UK is fattening the wallets of these criminals. This corruption is now an open secret.
My people are trapped between two powerful enemies. The occupation forces attack from the air, dropping cluster bombs on the innocent people.
On the ground they are the victims of the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.
When Karzai visited a village that was destroyed in the Farah province in May he said he would pay for new marriage celebrations for those who lost their wives.
This was like putting salt on the heart of my people. Now this shameless puppet is running in the presidential elections. His running mates are two war criminals.
This election is a showcase for the US government to deceive people around the world.
If all that happens is that we replace one puppet with another, then we have no hope in these elections.
As we say in Afghanistan, It’s like putting a new saddle on an old donkey.
The occupation has no legitimacy at all. When Barack Obama took office, the first message he had for our people was: more conflict. He promised to send more troops to Afghanistan, which is a continuation of the wrong policies of George Bush.
Now that they have brought the war to Pakistan this means more suffering for innocent civilians and more instability.
What we have experienced in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq is that you cannot bring peace with war. The US is responsible for the Taliban, and created them before they became enemies after 9/11.
My people do not support Karzai’s government, and there is no reason for these troops in Afghanistan.
If all the aid had gone to the people we could have rebuilt the country twice. It will be the people who will defeat the warlords and terrorists.
This is the only alternative for the bright future of Afghanistan.’
Raising My Voice, by Malalai Joya, is available from Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop. Call 020 7637 1848 or go to » www.bookmarksbookshop.co.uk
The full speech is available at » www.youtube.com/watch?v=f36SwISfOtE