MESSAGE FROM THE FEMINIST MAJORITY ON THE TALIBAN, OSAMA BIN LADEN
AND AFGHAN WOMEN
Feminist Majority joins our fellow citizens and people of good will
all over the world in mourning the deaths of thousands of women, men
and children on September 11 at the hands of terrorists. These terrorist
acts are crimes against all of humanity.
law enforcement continues to collect evidence about Osama bin Laden's
involvement in the horrific acts of terrorism on September 11, the
relationship between the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, and the suffering
of Afghan women is very clear. We know that the Taliban militia has
been harboring bin Laden and that, together, they have been leading
campaigns of terror against women, women's rights, ethnic and religious
minorities, and the Western world for many years. The Taliban and
bin Laden are interdependent and inextricable. Just as the Taliban
is protecting bin Laden from extradition, bin Laden is providing financial
resources, equipment, and highly trained mercenary fighters to bolster
the Taliban regime's war against the Afghan people.
were among the first to bring the atrocities of the Taliban to the
world's attention. Women have been the first victims of the Taliban.
Wherever the Taliban came to power, they banned women from working,
prohibited women and girls from attending school, and forbid women
from leaving their homes without being accompanied by a close male
relative and wearing a head-to-toe burqa shroud. Women who violate
Taliban decrees are beaten, imprisoned, or even killed. For the past
six years, Afghan women and girls have pleaded with the world to free
them from the grips of the brutal Taliban militia and have warned
that the Taliban's threat to humanity would extend beyond the borders
Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan has worked tirelessly
to bring to the attention of U.S. policymakers that the Taliban must
be stopped and that the war that they are waging against women and
ethnic minorities in Afghanistan poses a real threat to global security
and our national security. With the help of hundreds of thousands
of supporters, we played a major role in preventing recognition of
the Taliban by the United States and the United Nations.
have argued that the United States has a unique obligation to end
the Taliban's atrocities toward women. During the Soviet occupation
of Afghanistan in the 1980's, the U.S., through a covert CIA operation
based in Pakistan, supplied billions of dollars to fund, train, and
arm the mujahideen, which gave rise to the Taliban.
must now sound the alarm louder than ever because the stakes are so
high. For years, we have been urging a substantial increase in humanitarian
aid for Afghan women and girls, who are suffering from the ravages
of war, the worst drought in 30 years, and the Taliban's atrocities.
Some 3 million Afghan refugees are in Pakistan. Now, fearing
military retaliation from the U.S., many more are trying to flee,
but the borders to Pakistan and Iran are sealed. Worse yet, all foreign
(non-Afghan) humanitarian aid workers have evacuated Afghanistan since
September 11. Some 5.5 million displaced Afghans, mostly women and
children, have been left with only a 3 week supply of food, according
to the United Nations World Food Program. To prevent a holocaust of
innocent displaced people, humanitarian assistance must not stop.
Even if we cannot get aid to Afghanistan, we can get it to the millions
of Afghan women and children in Pakistan who are bordering on starvation.
steps are taken to eliminate terrorists and those who support them
in Afghanistan, we must make sure that the lives of women and girls
are saved and that the restoration of the rights of women and girls
is not marginalized as a side issue. As our government deliberates
on the appropriate measures to respond to the heinous terrorist acts
committed on Sept. 11, we must urge that the plight of Afghan women
and girls not be forgotten.
have learned from this horrific experience that what happens under
the dictatorial Taliban regime, which is holding the Afghan people
hostage, affects us all. A new society must be built in Afghanistan
with human rights for all restored. Afghan women must be at the center
We need your help and support now more than ever before. When the
constitutions of Germany and Japan were written following World War
II, feminists in those countries and abroad fought and won the inclusion
of women's rights. But, rather than helping Afghanistan rebuild after
the withdrawal of the Soviets and assuring the restoration of human
rights, the US allowed extremist elements of the mujahideen to gain
power. We cannot allow history to repeat itself. The only way that
Afghan women ever will finally gain their freedom and that global
security ever will be achieved long-term is if constitutional democracy
is restored in Afghanistan. At the same time that terrorism is eliminated,
the full rights of women must be restored and commitments must be
made to provide humanitarian assistance and to help rebuild the economy
and democratic infrastructure of Afghanistan.
we must urge support for Afghan women's organizations that are providing
humanitarian assistance, education and health care to Afghan women
and girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan to make sure that they have
the necessary resources to survive and to deal with the increasing
need. The future of a peaceful, stable, and democratic Afghanistan
depends upon the Afghan women with whom we work and to whom we are
trying to provide assistance and educational opportunities.
addition, we must remember the Taliban was never voted into power
by the Afghan people. The Taliban militia took power. They have ruled
by brutal force, with the help of bin Laden and with the support of
Pakistan, Saudia Arabia, and United Arab Emirates, which are the only
three countries that have granted official recognition to the Taliban.
The Taliban has held the Afghan people hostage. The Afghan people
are not our enemy. In removing the Taliban, the U.S. and its allies
must rescue and liberate the people, especially women and children,
who have suffered so terribly under the Taliban's rule.
as we must not condemn the Afghan people for the acts of terrorists,
we also should not condemn Arabs and Muslims, the vast majority of
whom do not support this so-called religious fanaticism. This extremism,
which has now taken the lives of so many American citizens, Afghans,
and others, is not about Islam, but is about the use of violence to
achieve a political end.
link between the liberation of Afghan women and girls from the terrorist
Taliban militia and preservation of democracy and freedom in America
and worldwide has never been clearer.
YES, I want to help ensure that Afghan women and girls, who have been
held hostage by the brutal Taliban militia, are not forgotten.
Forward this message to a friend so she or he can take action on this
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