STATEMENT BY ELEANOR SMEAL, PRESIDENT FEMINIST MAJORITY FOUNDATION
We join the U.S. and the world in mourning the deaths of thousands of women, men and children yesterday at the hands of terrorists.
The feminist campaign to liberate Afghan women and girls from the terrorist Taliban militia must continue. For over four years, we have educated the American public and the American government of the growing menace that the Taliban presents to human freedom in Afghanistan and to global stability. While at this time we cannot definitely say that the Taliban and Osama bin Laden have committed the horrific acts of September 11, we do know that they have been leading campaigns of terror against women, women’s rights, ethnic and religious minorities, and the Western world for many years.
But we must not condemn the Afghan people. In fact, they are the first victims of this terrorist regime, and the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan has been by brutal force, not popular rule. Nor should we condemn all Arabs and Muslims because they are the victims of and do not support this so-called religious fanaticism. This extremism has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with the use of violence to achieve a political end.
We believe that U.S. foreign policy must focus on liberating Afghanistan and this region of the world from this scourge on human rights and human lives. The United States must pressure Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates Ð the only three countries that have granted the Taliban official recognition Ð to immediately withdraw their recognition and support from the Taliban. These countries must join the rest of the world community in ending terrorism and the violation of human rights.