MOHAMMED ISSA is president of the Afghan Watan Party. He was interviewed in Brussels on February 10 by AMJAD AYUB for the Pakistani Marxist news magazine Struggle. The following is abridged from that interview.
Question: What is the present situation in Afghanistan?
Afghanistan is passing through the darkest period in her history. Religious fanatics, with the active collaboration of the world's rightist forces, are controlling most of the country.
Since 1992, the fundamentalists have dominated the power bases in Afghanistan. It was the mujahideen who destroyed museums, plundered the cities, abolished human rights, and looted and murdered the residents. Now, nothing is left but a vast ruin of what was once the hub of a great civilisation.
Question: What steps is your party taking to change this situation?
After falling victim to both left and right extremes, the Afghanis have come to the conclusion that extremes cannot bring peace and progress. The Russian invasion had the support of the left extremists and the mujahideen were backed by the right extremists of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran and many other fanatical religious groups. Both extremes were responsible for the violation of basic human rights.
The Watan Party is fighting for the rights and freedom of the Afghan people. We are unveiling the atrocities and crimes of the extremist Taliban. We are trying to mobilise and bring together all democracy and justice-loving Afghan political parties and groups in order to pave the road for a people's elected government in Afghanistan.
Question: Tell us about the recently formed Alliance for Peace in Afghanistan (APA).
The APA was formed in order to bring the war to an end and establish long-lasting peace. The Watan Party worked day and night to bring together the six political parties that are now members of the alliance.
On February 7, the six parties held their congress under the banner of APA in Frankfurt, Germany. A number of well-known freedom fighters also attended. APA was formed and the Watan Party was elected the leader of the alliance for six months.
Question: What is the program of the APA?
The program is to take steps that would end the war, establish justice, replace the ethnic and religious antagonism with social harmony, to prevent Afghanistan from disintegration, to check external intervention in the internal affairs of our country, to make a meeting of an elected loya jirga [parliament] possible, to work for the establishment of a national government and to write a new constitution.
Question: The government of China has recently established contact with the Taliban and a trade agreement between the two is said to be in the offing. What is your reaction?
It must be remembered that it was our government that made the Russian troops go home on February 15, 1988. Since 1988, until the success of the mujahideen in 1992, we ran the country independently. From day one we objected to the Russian interference in our internal affairs. Now we strongly condemn the Chinese interference.
It is beyond comprehension how the Chinese can justify establishing friendly contact with the inhuman religious fanatics who are responsible for the destruction of civilisation in our country. The Chinese government is shaking hands with the murderers of human rights. The Taliban are not recognised by any government in the world, except their illegitimate parents, the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Question: What will the regional and international repercussions of the Chinese-Taliban friendship be?
Ideologically, the Chinese and Taliban seem opposite to each other. This is an unholy alliance and one against the will of the people of China and the Afghanistan. The spread of religious fanaticism to the borders of China will bring havoc to the people of China.
It worries us a great deal that a member of the UN Security Council is establishing contact with the Taliban fanatics. We see this as a shameful attempt to put the Taliban in the vacant seat of Afghanistan in the UN.
We therefore appeal all those who fight for justice to condemn this evil act of international diplomacy, and help the democratic forces and the struggling women to restore peace and democracy in Afghanistan so that it can play a progressive role not only in the region but worldwide.