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Afghan activist calls for Australian 'occupat -

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Afghan activist calls for Australian 'occupation' troops to go

Peter Cave reported this story on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 12:26:00

PETER CAVE: Malalai Joya is often described as "the bravest woman in Afghanistan".

An activist for women's rights, she was elected as the youngest member of the Afghanistan
Parliament in 2003, and suspended four years later for her stinging attacks on the country's
warlords, who she's described as "snakes in the sleeves of government who must be brought to book
for war crimes and crimes against humanity".

There have been at least four attempts on her life and she lives by constantly switching houses and
travelling everywhere with heavily armed bodyguards.

Malalai Joya, now 30, is in Australia to promote her book, called Raising My Voice. She's a fierce
critic of the Government of Hamid Karzai and of the occupation of her country by foreign forces.

When she came to The World Today studio early today she told me that foreign forces, including
those from Australia, were doing more harm than good and that they should leave because they were
collaborating with the war criminals.

MALALAI JOYA: One day these criminals, these warlords, these bunch of killers to face to the
national and international criminal courts - they must be brought. But unfortunately, day by day
they're getting powerful, as this is the policy of US government, and even now negotiating with
Taliban. They want to bring in power Mullah Omar as well - many times they invited - and also
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar; these fascist men.

If these criminals also came in power with another bunch of killers who are in power, the circle of
warlords and drug lords and terrorism will be complete. And again, the innocent people of my
country - especially women, who were the first and most victims during the war, and are still many
violences - they will be the main victims.

PETER CAVE: When you went into Parliament and said exactly those sort of things, did you expect the
reaction you got? Did you expect to be kicked out of Parliament?

MALALAI JOYA: When I had a speech first time in 2003, that my life has been changed. Even I was not
sure that I, that they would let me to be alive or not. I was ready for sacrifice - as now as well
I am ready for every kind of sacrifices for my people, for causes like violence, like democracy,
woman's rights - as I believe that no nation can donate liberation to another nation. This is our
responsibility to bring these values and accept risks and tell the truth.

But in Parliament, when I found the second time as an elected member, but the election was not
democratic election, and Parliament, majority seats of Parliament belongs to warlords, drug lords
and criminals. Every time when I want to talk, they turn off microphone, threaten me to death, and
even they beated me inside of Parliament, even they threatened me to rape inside of Parliament. But
because I didn't compromise with them, and exposed their mask in their own house, in our national
house, and they made it dirty. That's why I called it that, because of their crimes. It's worse
than animal stable - it's like zoo. It's not national house.

PETER CAVE: You are a campaigner for women's rights in Afghanistan. Are women's rights getting
better or worse?

MALALAI JOYA: Unfortunately, situation for women in most of provinces is like hell. I cannot find
any words other than hell to explain the bitter, the worse...

PETER CAVE: Worse than it was under the Taliban?

MALALAI JOYA: Right now, situation of woman is as catastrophic as it was under the domination of
Taliban. Rape cases and violence is historical in Afghanistan. Alone in the Northern Provinces of
Afghanistan 12 rape cases get reported by the media, while it's more than that. Lots of women, tens
of women, every month they commit suicide, as there is no justice in Afghanistan.

For example, when the girls are going to schools, as they have eager to education, which as
education is a main key to emancipation of a country. And many examples like this that the
situation of woman is getting worse. For example 14-year-old Pashida was a young girl, and when
she's going to school, kidnapped by these warlords and has been raped, gang-raped; one of them, a
son of the member of the Parliament. How we should be hopeful that woman's rights will come in
Afghanistan?

PETER CAVE: Do you think that Hamid Karzai and his administration are doing any good things?

MALALAI JOYA: You know Hamid Karzai himself is a puppet man, who compromise with the enemies of our
people. And now again this shameless man is running for presidential election. And his government
today is very weak, and is have to know about his role as how much he was not honest for Afghan
people.

And he is - as US government wish - he is doing and do not take care to the wishes of our people.
And now, while he's running for presidential election, two candidates who is vice-president for him
is two famous killers. International advice has been raised against these candidates, but he do not
listen and don't care to that.

And now Karzai, I think he is like a rotten, dead body which should be buried.

PETER CAVE: You have also spoken about the presence of foreign troops in your country. How do you
feel about the presence of those troops, including Australian troops?

MALALAI JOYA: First of all, let me tell that these troops, they are the victim of the wrong policy
of their governments, including Australian troops. On behalf of my people, first of all I pay
condolences to those families who lost their sons in Afghanistan. Australian Government, as a part
of NATO, unfortunately they followed the wrong policy of US government in this seven years, which
the US policy is a war crime - it's a mockery of democracy, and a mockery of the war on terror. If
Obama continued this policy it would be even worse than Bush administration.

PETER CAVE: What would happen if the foreign troops left? Is that what you want?

MALALAI JOYA: Yeah, US government, US government policy is that supporting the enemies of our
people, and instead support the Democrats, as they are the only alternative for the future of
Afghanistan. Today they are very weak, and this puppet government of Hamid Karzai do not support
them. There is no (inaudible) for them and many risks for them, as (inaudible) not only Taliban
become powerless, but Afghanistan has been changed to the centre of track, as today 93 per cent of
opium produced from Afghanistan, even found its way on the streets of Europe and US...

PETER CAVE: But do you want them to leave, or just change the way they behave?

MALALAI JOYA: So, ah yeah. So they are not honest for Afghan people, and they support enemies of
our country. It is better as soon as possible leave Afghanistan. Now we are between two enemies -
one side this Taliban and Northern Alliance on the ground killing our people and doing violence
against women of my country - half of population of a country; and another side, these occupation
forces from the sky, they are bombing and killing our people.

So, I want one enemy, external enemy, these occupation forces, leave Afghanistan. Then it's easier
for us to fight with one enemy instead of two enemies.

PETER CAVE: Afghan women's rights advocate and author Malalai Joya, speaking to me earlier.