News Release

Afghan Women Warn Against the Northern Alliance

FAHIMA VORGETTS
Vorgetts headed a women’s literacy program in Kabul and fled Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion in 1979. (Her sister, operating an underground school for girls in Kabul, fled the country in 1999 when the Taliban learned of her activities.) Vorgetts said today: “For years we have been trying to raise awareness about the situation of women in Afghanistan and for years we were being ignored. We had to beg people to arrange an event. Now people are listening to what we say about the Taliban, but they must listen to what we say about the Northern Alliance to not repeat the same type of tragedy for the country as a whole and especially for the women of Afghanistan. The Taliban are horrible and Afghanistan will be much better off without them, but we must not forget that the Northern Alliance committed so many atrocities, so many crimes during their rule between 1992 and 1996 that they made it easy for the Taliban to come to power. Afghanistan has suffered for 23 years — there is no school, employment, streets, factories or bridges left. The bombing is making it worse, it’s causing more damage. If you want to stop terrorism you must help the country by providing infrastructure, investment, education and aid. The war must be against poverty and ignorance, that’s the only way to bring real peace to Afghanistan and consequently to the United States. The outside world spent billions of dollars to build up the mujahadeen. Now it should spend money to help bring some real peace.”

TAHMEENA FARYAL, [via Alicia Lucksted]
Spokesperson for the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, the oldest women’s humanitarian and political organization in Afghanistan, Faryal said today: “Despite the claim of the U.S. that only military and terrorist bases of the Taliban and Al Qaeda would be struck and that its actions would be accurately targeted and proportionate, what we have witnessed for the past many days leaves no doubt that this invasion will shed the blood of numerous women, men, children, young and old of our country…. The U.S. and its allies were supporting the policies that helped foster Osama bin Ladin and the Taliban. Today they are sharpening the dagger of the ‘Northern Alliance.’ So many of those now involved in what has come to be called the Northern Alliance have the blood of our beloved people on their hands, as of course do the Taliban. Their sustained atrocities have been well documented by independent international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and others. From 1992 to 1996 in particular, these forces waged a brutal war against women, using rape, torture, abduction and forced marriage as their weapons. Many women committed suicide during this period as their only escape. Any initiative to establish a broad-based government must exclude all Taliban and other criminal Jehadi factions, unless and until a specific faction or person has been absolved of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Otherwise, the people will again be plunged into the living hell that engulfed our country from 1992 to 1996 — under elements now involved in the Northern Alliance — and continues to the present under the Taliban. The continuation of U.S. attacks and the increase in the number of innocent civilian victims not only gives an excuse to the Taliban, but also will cause the empowering of the fundamentalist forces in the region and even elsewhere in the world.”
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ZIEBA SHORISH-SHAMLEY
Shorish-Shamley is the founder and director of the Women’s Alliance for Peace and Human Rights in Afghanistan.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167