Malalai Joya is an Afghan human rights activist, writer, and former member of the Afghan National Assembly. In 2010, she was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.
How has Afghanistan changed since the fall of the Taliban? In particular, how have women’s lives changed?
The US invaded my country under the banner of the war on terror, women’s rights, human rights, and democracy. But even with the presence of tens of thousands of troops, not only women—also Afghan men—suffer from war, terrorism, injustice, the rule of drug mafia and warlordism, insecurity, joblessness, poverty, unprecedented corruption, and many other problems. While it’s true that the women’s rights situation may have improved when you compare it with the barbaric regime of the Taliban—some women now have jobs and education—it is used to justify the occupation.