The identity of the author, a long-time Afghan women’s rights activists has been omitted to protect her safety.

Throughout its turbulent history, Afghanistan has been a hotbed of conflicts between the powerful countries of the world. It has sustained attacks from many countries throughout its history. During the Cold War, the US armed and funded Jehadi terrorist gangs, through Pakistan, against the Russians. After Russia’s withdrawal, these warlords burned the country to the ground in a bloody 4-year civil war, which saw the perpetration of the worst war crimes in the history of the country. Several years later, Pakistan gifted another dark, medieval-minded force, the Taliban and in 2001, the US and its allies began a new game with the fate of our country, which apparently involved the annihilation of the Taliban and bringing democracy and women’s liberation, but was in reality a military invasion and occupation for the interests of foreign nations. This game took the lives of thousands of our innocent children, women, and men. Our people burned in airstrikes conducted by the US and NATO, targeted in terrifying night raids, illegally held and inhumanely tortured in black sites inside giant military bases of foreign forces, and will suffer for generations due to the use of harmful chemicals in bombs.

Our people were deceived by the US’s claims of bringing democracy and the “war on terror” in the start, but quickly learned that the US and its allies had partnered with criminal warlords of the civil war period, and supported the most traitorous, corrupt, mafia, government in Afghanistan’s history. Today, under John Kerry’s installed National Unity Government, Afghanistan is one of the poorest nations in the world and ranks, despite billions of dollars in aid, among lowest countries in development indexes. The billions of dollars have lined the pockets of corrupt, mafia warlords and drug lords, inside and outside the government, fueling corruption and making Afghanistan the most corrupt country in the world. If the aid had truly been spent for rebuilding the infrastructure of Afghanistan, for educating the young generation, providing basic social services, and other national purposes, Afghanistan’s situation would have been completely different today.

Besides of hunger, poverty, lawlessness, and unemployment, the Taliban and ISIS – the latest brand of Islamic fundamentalism after Jehadi and Taliban – are also practically controlling majority of Afghan provinces and have made people’s lives hell. All these forces are continuously fighting among themselves, holding our ill-fated people hostage. People have been widely displaced as they flee the ongoing war. If we only see the capital city, hardly a week goes by without a suicide attack, a rocket attack, or terrorist actions of the kind. It is only natural that Afghans will leave the country in thousands to escape this misery, forming the second largest group of refugees in the world after the Syrians.

Afghan women are badly suffering from domestic violence, rape, immolation and self-immolation, honor killing, forced and child marriage, and other cruelties, thanks to the misogynist elements in power all over Afghanistan. Thousands of cases of brutal violence are still recorded every year, with almost no convictions or botched trials for perpetrators.

In such a grave situation, Afghans need the support of forces and individuals that show their solidarity through word and action. The real and unbiased support and solidarity come from democratic and freedom-loving forces. No government supports a cause or a nation without taking its own interests and gains into high consideration.

Real solidarity is different from false, fraudulent and conditional solidarity. Today, solidarity has become a suspicious word. The support given to Afghanistan by foreign powers has always been given in return for the fulfillment of conditions that are pivotal for the interests of those countries. We have seen that under this term, and others such as “aid”, “support”, “democracy”, “liberation of women”, and others, the enemies of democracy and women have been backed. This has led to terrorism becoming a global threat and gaining strength with every passing day.

Real solidarity, I believe, is the solidarity of people with people. This solidarity is unconditional, it is not to fulfill a specific purpose or interest. It is for humanity, a better world. We are proud to have witnessed the true solidarity between the people of the world, among the progressive and peace-loving people of the world. Every American and non-American who has stood against the criminal wars waged by their government, who has exposed the dangerous anti-people policies of their governments, has actually stood in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan. Every soldier that regrets having served such wars and suffers from the pain of the criminality of these wars has actually stood in solidarity, not just with the Afghan people, but with other war ravaged nations and humanity itself. Every person who makes an effort to get an Afghan girl educated, so she can have a better future, take control of her life, and say no to oppression and be independent enough to live by her words, has declared her solidarity with Afghan girls and the idea of a better and equal world.

One Billion Rising (OBR), as an anti-war movement fighting for women’s rights and democracy with altruistic intentions, has always stood against injustice, oppression, double-standards of governments, ignorance, colonialism, capitalism, and has sought to show its true and meaningful solidarity with people in every corner of the world. We witness this solidarity in Afghanistan by educating future doctors, engineers, lawyers…. and helping young generation of girls to build their future, Your solidarity has taught girls to swim when their only option is to sink, this is indeed valuable. We are very proud to be associated with it.

1billion_tiledmediasquares_071 in 3 women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. Every February, we rise – in hundreds of countries across the world – to show our local communities and the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors most often face. We rise through dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that we have not been defeated by this violence. We rise to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable.

This year we are Rising In Solidarity Against the Exploitation of Women. We are initiating a new series, “RISING SOLIDARITY” where we will be sharing stories of extraordinary activists from around the world about their experiences with true solidarity, harnessing a deeper understanding of why it is critical in the fight against systems of oppression and exploitation. Providing both regional and global context for what it means to stand in solidarity with each other.