WASHINGTON - October 12 - “Today Afghanistan is still chained and burning in the fires of both the Taliban and the criminal ‘Northern Alliance’ fundamentalists and the future of Afghanistan is in serious jeopardy,” warned Zoya, a member of RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) five years after the start of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Founded in 1977, RAWA is the oldest social and political organization of women in Afghanistan, struggling for a secular democracy through non-violent resistance. The underground women’s organization has been the most vocal critic of fundamentalism and war.
According to Zoya, the US “just replaced one fundamentalist regime with another,” and Afghan president Hamid Karzai “betrayed the people’s trust by relying on warlords…The security situation is critical - it is like a ticking bomb.”
Afghanistan has seen a dramatic upsurge in violence in the past two years. Attacks on US and NATO forces are on the rise and the rate of troop fatalities is comparable to Iraq. Suicide bombings, a one-time rare phenomenon, have reached epidemic proportions. Taliban forces control the southern part of the country, while the Northern Alliance, allied with the US to help topple the Taliban in 2001, now control the Northern Afghan provinces. Recently, Safia Amajan, the head of a provincial women's affairs department was gunned down outside her home.
RAWA gained international attention in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 for their courage in exposing the crimes of the Taliban. However, RAWA warned the US not to work with the Northern Alliance in October 2001. Today because of the climate of fear created by the fundamentalists, RAWA members continue to risk their lives for speaking out. Zoya, like all RAWA members, uses a false name and travels incognito.
On October 7, 2006, Zoya spoke at a benefit for RAWA, organized by Afghan Women’s Mission called “Breaking the Propaganda of Silence.” On October 7, 2006, Zoya spoke at a benefit for RAWA, organized by Afghan Women’s Mission called “Breaking the Propaganda of Silence.” Click here to read the transcript of her speech.
Zoya is available for interviews during her two week US tour. Call 626-676-7884 to schedule interviews.