ISLAMABAD - Afghan women staged a protest in
Pakistan on Monday, denouncing past abuses by factions making
up their country's new government and predicting that the lot
of women would be no better than under the hard-line Taliban.
``The Northern Alliance were criminals to our mothers and
young daughters,'' the women shouted at a small demonstration in
the Pakistani capital. Children accompanying them waved banners
and pictures of Northern Alliance fighters killing Taliban.
Under a landmark deal reached in Germany last week, the
militarily dominant Northern Alliance will share power with
exile groups in a six-month interim administration.
A girl holds a poster showing Northern Alliance soldiers shooting a suspected Taliban soldier during a rally to mark International Human Rights day in Islamabad December 10, 2001. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) says the human rights conditions of men, women and children are no better under the control of Afghanistan's ruling Northern Alliance, who they say have just as bad a record on human rights as the Islamic Taliban militia they have replaced in recent weeks. (Jason Reed/Reuters)
The Taliban, ousted by U.S.-backed tribal rivals, forced
women to wear the all-enveloping burqa and banned them from
working, studying or leaving home without a male relative -- a
harsh restriction in a land with many widowed in two decades of
But the leftist Revolutionary Association of the Women of
Afghanistan (RAWA) said in a statement that factions within the
victorious Northern Alliance were guilty of widespread rape of
women and girls when in power in the early 1990s
``We don't believe that they will not repeat the crimes they
committed from 1992 to 1996,'' Alia Nazeer, a RAWA spokeswoman,
Most of the demonstrators wore veils, but none wore the
The RAWA statement said the end of the burqa was ``in no way
an indication of women's rights and liberties'' in Afghanistan.
``The world community must consider the fanatic nature of
the Northern Alliance and Taliban. Northern Alliance and
Taliban are the same,'' Alia Nazeer said
``The people of the world need to know that in terms of
widespread raping of girls and women from seven to 70, the
track record of the Taliban can no way stand up against that of
these very same Northern Alliance associates,'' the RAWA
As the Northern Alliance has chased the Taliban from power,
helped by weeks of U.S. bombing, a few women in Afghanistan
have stopped wearing their burqas and returned to work. Many
are taking a wait-and-see attitude.
Copyright © 2001 Reuters Limited