Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA): We are here, we keep fighting!
RAWA: ‘We have common enemy, Afghan women and other women from rest of the world shouldn't forget their enslaved sisters in Afghanistan. They can be our strong voice.’

With the announcement of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which occupied the territory of Afghanistan, the Taliban entered Kabul and took over the administration. The coming to power of the Taliban, on the other hand, was a sign that the country would enter a dark period again. There are news that the Taliban, which is known for its practices that darken the lives of women, has completely banned music and women's voices in Afghanistan. Covering women with burqas, preventing them from going out without a man, taking away their right to education and profession and working are all attempts to imprison women. Afghan women, on the other hand, do not seem to give up the struggle easily against terrible Taliban practices. There are Afghan women who carry out large and small actions in various cities of the country and do not give up their efforts to make their voices heard in the world.

The Revolutionary Women's Association of Afghanistan (RAWA), which has been fighting for women's rights since 1972, told Ekmek ve Gül about the situation experienced in the country with the withdrawal of the USA from the country. Answering Ekmek ve Gül's questions, RAWA expressed that the US/NATO governments occupied Afghanistan behind the mask of beautiful slogans such as "democracy", "women's rights" and "war on terror", while reacting to the statements that Afghan women have gained rights in the last 20 years. Expressing that women have been fighting for their rights for 100 years, RAWA made a call to both women of the world and women from Turkey and said, “Our enemy is a partner. Afghan women and other women in the rest of the world should not forget their enslaved sisters in Afghanistan. They can become our strong voice.”

Who would you point to as responsible for what happened in Afghanistan today?

The main culprits for the tragedy of Afghanistan is the war mongering imperialist government of the US and NATO along with regional countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are adding firewood into the inferno of Afghanistan. Of course, we can’t ignore the dirty and criminal nature of local fundamentalists, the puppet Afghan government composed of Jihadists, warlords, war-criminals, drug-lords, kidnappers and rapists, and medieval-minded Taliban terrorists as the mercenary forces of regional and imperialist countries.

The US/NATO governments occupied Afghanistan in the guise of pretty slogans of “democracy”, “women’s rights” and “war on terror”, later on adding more beautiful terms like “nation building” and "fighting extremism". However, like every imperialist government, they installed Northern Alliance, the most unpopular, corrupt and misogynist elements on the power after 9/11. On the other hand, they played cat-and-mouse game with Taliban, and ultimately gifted the fate of our ill-fated people to these savages.


When Taliban tries to deliver "moderate" messages, they always try to use women as a cover. Various countries and non-governmental organizations like UNICEF declare that they are "optimistic" to the Taliban's allegedly moderate statements. How will this approach affect women in Afghanistan?

Taliban are pretending that they have changed and depict a "moderate" face. They talk of women's rights (but restricted under Sharia law) and won't let Afghanistan become hub for terrorism and even condemned the recent attacks of IS-K on Kabul Airport. It is ironic to see the so-called changed face of Taliban or condemning suicide attacks, because they have killed thousands of Afghan civilians in their recent years’ suicide attacks, explosions, target killing, landmines, etc. and have officially taken the responsibility.

Taliban spokespersons have repeatedly expressed to the world media that in their future regime, women can work, study or travel (but not alone if it in linger than three days!!!), following the Islamic laws. Currently, they are trying to act moderate, to be recognized by the international community and to be accepted by Afghan citizens. However, Afghan people, especially women, don't trust them, because, they know their dark history and nature which is full of brutalities against women. Afghan women haven't forgotten the shooting on of Zarmina in Kabul sports stadium back their first period of rule or other restrictions against women. Afghan women know it very well that all girls’ schools, and in some areas the boys’ school as well, were closed in their areas of control, and they had burned many of girl's school. They know that Taliban have killed many woman activists and even the nurses and vaccinators. Afghan women have seen that in the recent years, Taliban have killed and flogged women in their areas of control.

Currently, all schools, universities and educational centers both for women and men are closed. Women government employees have been back to their offices, but they were not allowed inside by Taliban militias on the gates. When Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban media man, was asked about this issue, he responded that the situation is not safe for the women to attend the offices and their militant are not trained enough to behave women properly! Few women can be seen on the streets and all of them avoid wearing tight and bright colored outfits. The black hijab covers from head to toe. Specially young girls are imprisoned at home.

We know, the “moderate” face of Taliban is for a short term and eventually they will return to their medieval criminal methods.

To make it brief in few words Afghan women will count it an unforgivable treason if any government recognize officially and legitimize Taliban Islamic Emirate.

What risks do women face with the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan?

We receive news that women are sent from their workplaces to their homes, execution lists are prepared for journalists and women who struggle, and women are forced into marriage.

If the Shria law is implemented it would mean two women equal to one man in many fields in the court. There will be lots of restriction on their high education, employment, their role in economy or politics, even personal decisions such as traveling, taking their child somewhere for a trip or family planning. And so on….


We would like to hear the existing situation from you. What are the general tendencies of women? What do Afghan women think, what do they want to do? Are there pro-Taliban female masses? What role do they have in the Taliban administration?

Before the take over of Taliban, Afghanistan was already ranked as the most dangerous place for women to live. Now that the Taliban have been gifted the power, the life for Afghan women is much darker and dangerous. Yes, women government employees were not allowed to enter their offices and even Taliban spokesman confirmed this in front of world media. In the first two or three days of Taliban take over, few TV presenters and journalists were seen in the media and since then most of them have escaped the country. Some woman journalists in the provinces have received death threats by Taliban, and they have escaped to Kabul city or left the country. All of woman activists have escaped the country or living underground. Even those reactionary women such as Habiba Sarabi, Jamila Afghani, Malalai Shinwari and Mary Akrami who were part of the Doha peace talks, and later on, were talking in favour of Taliban have left the country or gone undercover.

Afghan women, like every woman and human on earth, want to live free and in prosperity and peace. They want to go to school, work and enjoy their life. Taliban don't have strong foothold amongst Afghan masses, especially women. They are ruling, not because of their popularity but due to the fear they have created amongst the masses through their brutalities and religious fascist methods. If they were favoured by people, their government would not have collapsed with a week back in 2001. Afghan people would have stood and fought besides them. Please note down that this is possible again.

There are no pro-Taliban female masses, but few wind-up dolls like Fawzia Koofi, ex-parliamentarian and part of Doha Talks, are still here and looking forward to be given some seat. However, that is certain that women will play no role in the future regime of Taliban. In last two weeks not a single women has been seen I their meetings.

But, they might need female employees to implement and control it. And even that time Taliban might claim that women are out of our administration.


There are evaluations that Afghan women have achieved some partial rights in the last 20 years. Do you agree with this? We know that Western countries, in particular, are trying to influence the region through many NGOs related to women's rights in Afghanistan. How do you evaluate this approach?

Throughout the history, like women in every country, Afghan women have played their progressive role as individuals or in collective forms. We have Malalai Maiwand and Meena in our history. We have the example of Belquis Roshan, the female outspoken MP. And many unknown girls and women, who have fought for their basic rights to go to school or work outside the home, against the patriarchal society and fundamentalist factions and regimes.

The life for Afghan women haven't started since last 20 years. In 1919, after the first independence of Afghanistan from British Empire, it was Soraya Tarzi, wife of the progressive King Amanullah Khan, who threw her in veil in public and worked hard for the education of women in the country. And the struggle for achievement of women's rights continued in different forms, even during the bloodied years of Jihadists power from 1992 to 1996, and then the medieval power of Taliban from 1996 to 2001. And it kept on till today.

We don't agree that "Western countries, in particular, are trying to influence the region through many NGOs related to women's rights in Afghanistan." They were here for their dirty strategic and geopolitics gains. For sure, they misused the attractive slogan of women's rights to justify their presence. It was just a tool for them to implement their own plans.

Even though many countries left Afghanistan after the Taliban took over, their plans for Afghanistan continue. How do you evaluate the future course of Afghanistan?

Yes, apparently all of the occupiers left Afghanistan, however, their meddling will continue. They will continue with their rivalries through their proxy forces, known as Jihadists, Taliban and ISIS.

When US government started the so-called peace talks with Taliban, we stated that the project of Taliban is coming to an end for the US and will be replaced by ISIS. The US government will ask its hand-sticks to change their white turbans (signature outfit of Taliban) with black ones (signature outfit of ISIS). And we already can see that. The so-called IS-K forces did two suicide bombing in the airport, killing more than 200 people including 13 US soldiers. And US government have done two drone air strikes in Kabul and Nangarhar, claiming to kill IS-K members. What is certain that US will leave Afghanistan and the power was gifted to Taliban through their so-called peace talks, but the bloodshed and war will continue in Afghanistan and the real victims will continue to be our defenceless people.

As RAWA, you have been working under great pressure for many years, has this process increased the threats against you? What are you doing to survive and keep fighting?
Yes, RAWA has always been the outspoken opponent of ruling powers and other religious and non-religious criminals fanatics in Afghanistan. We have been mong few to stand against US/NATO occupation. Therefore, we have been always at risk. Our members and supporters have been always arrested, tortured and faced other threats in different regimes. Our work and activities have been done in semi-clandestine manner. We will continue with our struggle, but we can't go into details due security reasons.

We see women protesting the Taliban either in crowd or in small groups. How do women manage to come together? Do you anticipate that these actions will continue?

Some of the protests have been organized by individuals and others by some civil society activists. We believe in the fact that where is oppression, there is resistance. Yes, Afghan women will continue with their resistance and protest in different forms.

The first night Taliban interred Kabul group of women wrote slogans on walls of Kabul “death to Taliban”!

Afghan women have learned a lot to keep silent against Taliban and to stand for their very basic human rights at any cost.


What should women from Afghanistan and from all over the world do? What is your call to Afghan women?

First of all, we would like to express our gratitude to the freedom-loving people in all around the world, who showed their solidarity with Afghan people against the wheeling and dealing of US government with Taliban.

Afghan women and other women from rest of the world shouldn't forget their enslaved sisters in Afghanistan. They can be our strong voice, because, Taliban have already started to repress the voice of women and media. They can put pressure on their governments not to continue with their dirty deals with Taliban savages.

Turkey also agreed with the US for airport control, now it wants to create its presence in Afghanistan for its own interests in the region. The President of Turkey recently expressed that they welcome the statements made by the Taliban leaders. Do you have a call to women from Turkey?
For sure Turkey is becoming a main player in Afghan game. It is certain that the fascist government of Turkey, especially Erdogan himself, is acting as one the Godfather of Taliban. And additionally, the Erdogan government wants to extend its neo-Ottoman Empire to Afghanistan as well. The second phase of US project is to empower ISIS forces in Afghanistan against its rival countries like China, Russia and Iran. The government of Turkey will give a strong hand to US government in moving the ISIS fighters from Middle East to Afghanistan.
Therefore, it is for the freedom-loving people of Turkey and Afghanistan, especially women, to unite their voice and struggle, because we have common enemy.

Click to read the Turkish version of the interview

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