Smeal strikes back: the FMF response to Kolhatkar's piece on Afghanistan

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

About a week ago, the blogosphere went wild when Sonali Kolhatkar, the host and producer of Uprising Radio and co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a U.S. nonprofit that funds health, educational and training projects for Afghan women,  and Mariam Rawi, a member of the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan working under a pseudonym, wrote this insightful critique of The Feminist Majority’s support of the U.S. war in Afghanistan as well as the argument that war there is necessary to “rescue” Afghan people, especially Afghan women.  The piece was posted everywhere, including here, and the FMF was not too pleased.

Its president Eleanor Smeal just posted this rebuttal piece to Huffington Post. She writes, "If the U.S. were to pull out of Afghanistan, the United States would be once again breaking our promise to the Afghan people, and the country would likely fall under Taliban control...Without [U.S. troops] stabilizing the country, there can be no significant redevelopment effort." What are your thoughts on her argument for U.S. troops to stay?

We've heard it before. We've also heard white Western women speak for the wants/needs of Afghan women before to make an argument for or against troops there. But Smeal also explains that, "For over 12 years, we have been listening to and working with Afghan women and Afghan women's groups to learn what they want supported" including Dr. Sima Samar, the Director of the Independent Commission on Human Rights, the highest ranking woman in the government of Afghanistan. She lists Samar's policy recommendations for greater peace there:
1) Human rights, especially the rights of women, must be a central focus.

2) The U.S. and Afghanistan must work together as partners with shared responsibility.

3) The U.S. must stop supporting and funding corrupt warlords who violate human rights. The culture of impunity must be stopped.

4) Security must be re-established until the Afghan army and police can take over. Private or "community" militias must not be funded.

5) Insist on accountability and transparency for aid funds and contractors.

6) Any long term plan must include job creation and development aid.

7) Women's rights cannot be negotiated away in the name of peace. This kind of peace would not be sustainable.

I'm not sure how the U.S. military fits into these -- they appear not to fit into any -- so it seems the FMF's support for a military presence is rather confusing. The military certainly is not engaging in these policies; instead is focusing on playing hopscotch all over the country, sending more and more troops to various areas "stamp out" insurgents with bombs and combat (looks a bit that "Whac-a-mole" carnival game.) I wonder why the FMF is not calling for a radically new military strategy, nay, a humanitarian/security strategy, as other peace groups?

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.