Malalai Joya is a fearless campaigner renowned for standing up to the warlords and tyrants inside the Afghan parliament, and for demanding the occupation forces leave her country. She spoke to Green Left’s Pip Hinman about the recent announcement by the United States to withdraw its troops and the West’s support for the Taliban.
Joya was elected to the Afghan parliament in 2005, four years after the US and NATO invasion and occupation. She was eventually forced to step down, but has not stopped campaigning for democracy — despite the dangers.
How do you assess US President Joe Biden’s announcement that he plans to pull US troops out of Afghanistan in September–October?
I hope the occupiers leave Afghanistan as soon as possible. I have repeatedly called for the foreign occupiers to leave our country. No nation can give liberation to another nation.
If the US leaves Afghanistan, the backbone of all the terrorist groups — jihadis, Taliban and ISIS — will break. They will become orphans.
In the past 20 years the US and NATO have supported different brands of terrorists and turned Afghanistan into a narco-state. I hope they will take their terrorist brands with them when they leave.
Over the past 20 years, the presence of US imperialism has proved once again that it is the bloodiest system in human history.
There is no doubt that in the short-term, the withdrawal of the foreign occupiers may lead to some security and economic problems. But it is in the long run interests of our people that they leave.
The absence of the US military will mean that Afghanistan will not be considered a threat to countries in region — such as China, Iran, Pakistan and Russia — and it will stop them from meddling in our internal affairs.
Today, each of these countries have their own puppets [in Afghanistan], which they are funding and arming to help safeguard their strategic interests.
In the past 20 years, the US has killed around 1 million Afghan people, directly or indirectly. It has dropped the mother of all bombs, used cluster bombs and white phosphorus, created a mafia and corrupted the economy. It has polluted our environment and made the country the drug capital of the world.
NATO followed in the footsteps of US; they have acted in the same way. For instance, the Australian troops also supported brutal warlords and committed war crimes — which are now being exposed by the media.
I do not believe our people will face darker and more catastrophic days than today.
We have faced tragedies for the past 20 years, which will continue. People are living in an environment full of fear and destitution. They are suffering from poverty, insecurity, corruption, joblessness, drug addiction and human rights violations.
Our people know that the US will push Afghanistan towards another civil war, like it did in the 1990s, if its regional interests require it to. However, on the other hand, if it wishes to, it could easily bring about peace — if it left.
We want all occupying countries to withdraw from Afghanistan. But the suffering of the Afghan people still needs solidarity from justice-loving and progressive movements, individuals, parties and activists around the world.
How many US bases will remain?
The security treaty signed with the government notes that the US has nine bases in Afghanistan. But, I believe it has more secret bases and intelligence centres and the US will do whatever it wants through its puppet regime.
The US administration has been working to rehabilitate the Taliban, and to include them in a new government. What do you think about this?
I don’t believe that the Taliban will ever change in a substantial way. The Taliban are depended on as a force, directed by Pakistan, Iran and other countries. They are fighting a proxy war on behalf of others.
US-NATO covert support to the Taliban over 20 years has enlivened this brutal group. They used the Taliban as a pretext to extend their military presence in the heart of Asia and to destabilise the entire region.
The result of the orchestrated “peace”, with Afghan-American diplomat Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad, will only unite the sworn enemies of peace, justice and democracy — the Taliban and the warlords — and hold Afghans in custody.
I strongly believe peace without justice is meaningless. The only solution is for the Afghan people to get rid of all the fundamentalists through their own struggle.