|Source: RAWA photo 2002 "Many of the over 70,000 war wodows in Kabul make a living by begging in the streets."|
|Source: Lonely Planet|
So much for the prologue. The story of NATO hiding behind women's skirts begins during the Cold War, 30+ years ago, when the communist regime of of Soviet Russia held sway. Quaintly, leaders in the U.S.S.R. seemed to believe that progress in the form of education, industrialization, infrastructure building and research & development would solidify their hold on Afghanistan.
|source: "Biology class, Kabul University." From a book published by Afghanistan's planning ministry in the 1960's.|
Invisible U.S. tax dollars were already flowing to the mujahadeen, Islamists also allied to Arab investors eager to compete with Iran's influence in the region. The U.S. was determined to give the Soviets "their Vietnam" i.e. a debilitating, unwinnable war against insurgents defending their hard-to-conquer homeland. The Soviet's puppet regime, the PDPA, used heavy handed tactics typical of one patriarchal system trying to oust another:
From the Afghan Web's women's history timeline:
Alongside the rapid modernization and reform agendas, the communist ideology was also forced down on people, many times using brutal violence. There was very little tolerance for tribal and religious customs. In rural areas, PDPA was seen as disregarding sensitive tribal values and traditions, and thus caused resentment and backlash.Ten years of proxy war ended in Soviet defeat, followed by a decade of civil war between warlords of the Northern Alliance and the Taliban, or "students", fundamentalists trained in the refugee camps of Pakistan. Then came 9/11 in which not a single Afghan participated. But did that stop the U.S. from bombing Afghanistan "back to the Stone Age" ostensibly to squelch the very mujahadeen they and the Saudis had been funding for twenty years?
Urbanite and president of California State University, East Bay Mohammad Qayoumi wrote in Foreign Policy:
Remembering Afghanistan's hopeful past only makes its present misery seem more tragic. ... it is important to know that disorder, terrorism, and violence against schools that educate girls are not inevitable. I want to show Afghanistan's youth of today how their parents and grandparents really lived.From a self-help group, operating in both Kabul and the countryside, the Revolutionary Assoc. of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA):
There has been no improvement in lives of this the most miserable and ill-fated portion of Afghan society since the establishment of transitional government...
The people of the world should know that though the disgusting, ludicrous and oppressive rule of Taliban was over in our ill-fated Afghanistan, but this never means the end of the horrible miseries of our tortured women.
Because contrary to the aspirations of our people and expectations of the world community, the Northern Alliance, these brethren-in-creed of the Taliban and Al-Qaida are again in power and generously supported by the US government.Now comes Amnesty International to claim otherwise. During the recent NATO summit in Chicago they used your contributions and mine to fund bus kiosk advertising with this misleading headline:
|Source: Amnesty International|
Amnesty International USA has a new executive director, Suzanne Nossel, who formerly worked for the State Dept. and as Vice President of Strategy and Operations at the Wall St. Journal. Hmmm....
Today, Afghans have an average life expectancy of 48 years. According the UNICEF, 68% of children under five suffer from either stunting or wasting due to malnutrition. For a detailed examination of claims that key indicators of progress such as maternal mortality have improved, see this article by researcher Tim Anderson published on Stop the War Coalition Sydney's website.
Hiding behind the skirts (and burkas) of women to control key territory is like hiding behind drones to kill without risking your own life. As the patriarchy spirals violently downward, making war has never looked more cowardly.