The US spends $100 million a day on the war effort in Afghanistan and a further $7 million a day goes into reconstruction. It has committed to spend $2.4 trillion over the next ten years. Big, expensive buildings have been constructed in Kabul, now “owned by the war lords”. Illegal drugs going from Afghanistan into the US and Europe generate about $500 million a year.
These figures are quoted by Afghan activist Malalai Joya as she deplores the extreme poverty in Afghanistan afflicting its 18 million people, most surviving on less than $2 a day. Both men and women in Afghanistan are in need of help, she says. They do not support the Taliban, nor the war lords.
Malalai Joya, 30, was in Australia to launch her book, Raising My Voice, published by Pan Macmillan Australia. In the past few years she has raised her voice so effectively that five assassination attempts have been made against her. In Afghanistan, she has to travel with body guards. Often she can stay only one night in one location and then she moves on. She says she risks her life so those who have committed crimes can be brought before the International Criminal Court as a step towards democracy for her country. Internationally, she has a significant following.
She is calling on all foreign forces to leave Afghanistan, including the US and NATO. She says, “We are caught between two enemies - the Taliban on one side and the US/NATO forces and their war lord friends on the other”.
“We are between two powerful enemies. From the ground, the Taliban and the northern allies are continuing to commit crimes and fascism against women and men in our country.
“From the sky these occupational forces are bombing and killing the civilians.”
She asks people to stand up to their governments against the “wrong policy” of military intervention in Afghanistan.
She said 400 civilians were killed and phosphorous had been dropped during US bombing. She views President Barack Obama’s policy as no better than that of President George W. Bush. “We want (action) against war crimes,” she said, not only against the Afghan war lords, but also against the US and Britain.
“These countries are wasting their money and blood in Afghanistan and I, on behalf on my people, pay my condolences to those people who lost their sons, their loves, their husbands in Afghanistan and have been killed," she says.
The United Nations must act to ensure that countries like China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Russia and others cease their influence and practice of peddling arms and weapons to war lords.
But both Russia and China were competing with the United States for control of the energy resources of the whole region, she says.
Estimates from the 2006 US Geological Survey and the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Industry show that the north of Afghanistan may possess more reserves of oil and gas than previously believed.
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