Afghan Women

Photos: Mariam Notten

RAWA is the oldest political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan since 1977.
RAWA is the oldest political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan since 1977.



Malalai Joya is still speaking out and working for women's rights and peace in Afghanistan. See her website at

Obama Has Things Backward in Afghanistan

by Phyllis Bennis and Farrah Hassen, March 9, 2009

Obama has already announced plans to escalate the war by sending 17,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. But in his address to Congress, he acknowledged he was still working to "forge a new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan."

It would have been much more sensible to devise the strategy before deploying the troops...
read article here



Afghanistan: Interview with Afghan woman rights campaigner Malalai Joya* (Reuters via Women's Freedom Forum)11/10/2008 
Women's  rights defender Malalai Joya has won the "Anna Politkovskaya" award for courage. "She has been called Afghanistan's bravest woman, defying the Taliban and the warlords in a tireless campaign for women's rights and the victims of rape."...


International supporters can help women's projects in Afghanistan: SAWA-Australia, the Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan, was set up in February 2004 by a group of concerned people from Sydney, Melbourne and Central Victoria, Australia. It is dedicated to raising funds for human rights, education, nutrition, health, safety, and improving the self-esteem of the millions of Afghan women and children in Pakistan's refugee camps and within Afghanistan. See RAWA for more information on their projects.

Malaia Joya, Member of Afghan Parliament, punished for opposing warlords
From SAWA: In May, Malalai Joya, the Afghan parliamentarian who spoke out against the influence of warlords in Afghanistan's parliament and repeatedly demanded that they be tried for war crimes, returned from a successful international tour and gave an interview with a local TV station in Kabul. The warlords and criminals in the Afghan Parliament and Senate used one of her comments to silence her and ban her from the Parliament.

In the interview she said that the Afghan Parliament, whose many members are the murderers and enemies of Afghan people, is worse than an animal stable. On May 21, 2007,  the Parliament dominated by warlords and drug-lords suspended Joya for three years and ordered the High Court to file a case against her. They also directed the Interior Ministry to restrict her movements within the country. This means she is not allowed to travel outside Afghanistan.

In a press conference in Kabul, Joya announced that it is a political conspiracy against her and that she will continue her fight against the warlords and enemies of Afghan people. She is ready to face an independent court and will use the opportunity to expose the enemies of Afghan people through it but fears that the judiciary is also controlled by warlords and fundamentalists.
Some Afghan lawyers believe that the Parliament's decision is illegal and only a court can decide to oust an elected representative of the people from Parliament.

The majority of ordinary Afghan people strongly support Joya, and she is receiving many phone calls, letters and emails full of sympathy and solidarity. It is important to add the voices of the international community to this support by sending messages of protest to the Afghan authorities. A draft letter and appropriate email addresses follow at our website, under Action.

This alert is from SAWA: for more information about Malalai Joya download their May newsletter at
Joya's speech in Australia in March can be read here:


July: Hope lives on...Erica Ahmed writes about the Khewa refugee camp for Afghanis located on the outskirts of Peshawar.

..."For the youth, especially school-going girls, life in Afghanistan is characterised by paralyzing physical danger. As a recently released report by Amnesty International explained, violence against females in the country is such that "Daily Afghan women are at risk of abduction and rape by armed individuals. The government is doing little to improve their condition." Acts of violence against women are rarely investigated or punished.

Only few schools destroyed during the Taliban-era and subsequent American invasion have been rebuilt, meaning that very few girls have educational institutions near their homes..."


31 May: Amnesty International report:

"Women in Afghanistan live daily with the threat of sexual violence, abduction, forced marriage and murder, Amnesty International (AI) charged in a new report. The research was issued just days after Shaima Rezayee, the 24-year-old female host of a Western-style television program that had drawn condemnation from religious conservatives, was slain in Kabul—allegedly with the involvement of her brothers. In the report, Afghanistan: Women Under Attack, AI underscored that violence against women in the country remains entrenched and pervasive and that the criminal justice system not only is ineffective in stopping violence, but often compounds it..."

Elayne Clift:
Afghan Women Fade From View as Media Touts Democracy

The Violence Continues: reports from the RAWA website
"RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, is the oldest political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan since 1977."
See more on RAWA at their English language website.

Afghanistan: Violence Surges
New York, May 24, 2005 (Human Rights Watch) - Afghanistan’s security situation has deteriorated significantly in recent weeks, with a spate of political killings, violent protests, and attacks on humanitarian workers, Human Rights Watch said today. The instability comes as President Hamid Karzai visits the United States this week.

The recent violence includes the assassination of a parliamentary candidate in Ghazni two weeks ago, the murder of three female aid workers, the kidnapping of an aid worker in Kabul, and clashes between armed factions in the northern province of Maimana. Read full report here.

Three Afghan women found dead with warning note
May 2, 2005 KABUL (Reuters) - Authorities have found the bodies of three Afghan women, one of whom worked for an aid group, who were raped, strangled and dumped with a warning for women not to work for such groups, an official said on Monday.

Aid workers in Afghanistan have been the target of Taliban insurgents, especially in the insurgency-plagued south and east of the country, but the three women were found in the northern province of Baghlan, where Taliban rebels are not active.
Read full report here.

April 2005 - From the Afghan Women's Mission:
Media in the United States have greatly exaggerated any victories for women's rights, and downplayed the conditions of warlordism, oppression and poverty that still flourish. In a recent trip to Afghanistan, Co-Directors of the Afghan Women's Mission, Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls found that the situation of women and girls was extremely dire and that little had changed since the fall of the Taliban.
Read their report: What the News Media Don't Tell You About Afghanistan


Two years after the start of the US war on Afghanistan: “No justice and security for women”
In a study released on 6 October 2003, “Afghanistan: No justice and security for women”, Amnesty International reports that:

“The international community has failed to fulfil its promises to bring freedom and equality to the women of Afghanistan, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

Nearly two years on, discrimination, violence, and insecurity remain rife, despite promises by world leaders, including President Bush and US Secretary of State Colin Powell, that the war in Afghanistan would bring liberation for women…"

Read the full AI report.


From women in Afghanistan, 14 September 2001:

"While we once again announce our solidarity and deep sorrow with the people of the US, we also believe that attacking Afghanistan and killing its most ruined and destitute people will not in any way decrease the grief of the American people. We sincerely hope that the great American people could DIFFERENTIATE between the people of Afghanistan and a handful of fundamentalist terrorists."
-- Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)

Read RAWA's statement on the terrorist attacks in the US.