National Press Club

Former Afghan Parliament Member Calls for US Troop Withdrawal

November 4, 2009 | By Lorna Aldrich |

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American troops in Afghanistan are war criminals and should leave the country, Malalai Joya, a member of the Afghan parliament, said at the Club Nov. 2.

The event, sponsored by the International Correspondents Committee, introduced her political memoir, "A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan who Dared to Raise her Voice." Joya‘s fellow members of parliament voted to suspend her from serving her term following charges that she insulted them.

She called American forces in Afghanistan “war criminals” and termed them an occupation force that killed innocent civilians. She described Afghanistan as caught between two powerful enemies -- the United States and the Taliban. She claimed that the advantage of withdrawing American troops would be that Afghans would have to fight only one enemy, the Taliban, rather than two.

She said the Obama administration was pursuing the same policies as the Bush administration did.

“Democracy cannot come from war,” she added.

She objected to the cost of the recent election while millions of Afghans did not have enough to eat. She declared that Harmid Karzai, the re-elected president, was the “winner of the White House.” Many peace-loving people did not participate, she said, because the election was a “showpiece for the Americans.”

About the American government in general, she said, “We do not expect anything good from you. Just stop doing bad.”

She did not spare the Afghan government, either, terming its members, among other things, drug traffickers and puppets of the Americans.

Joya distinguished between the many “peace loving” Americans and Afghans and their governments. She gave examples of actions she would advocate for those Americans.

“Truth itself is an alternative,” she said, and urged Americans wanting to help Afghanistan to join organizations that would pressure their government to change policies. She further advised writing articles on the Internet that would expose the errors of current policies.