is a women's organization based in Kabul, Afghanistan, that promotes women's rights and secular democracy. It was founded in 1977 by Meena Keshwar Kamal, an Afghan student activist who was assassinated in February 1987 for her political activities. The group, which supports non-violent strategies, had its initial office in Kabul, Afghanistan, but then moved to Pakistan in the early 1980s.
The organization aims to involve women of Afghanistan in both political and social activities aimed at acquiring human rights for women and continuing the struggle against the government of Afghanistan based on democratic and secular, not fundamentalist principles, in which women can participate fully. RAWA also strives for multilateral disarmament. Since 1977, the group opposed all the Afghan government systems: the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, the Islamic State of Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (1996-2001), the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2001-2021), and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (from 2021).
RAWA after the 2001 invasion
RAWA is highly critical of the NATO intervention that began in 2001, because of the high rate of casualties among the civilian population. The organization went so far as to threaten to sue United States government for unauthorized use of four photos from their website that were used in propaganda handbills dropped on various cities in Afghanistan during the 2001 invasion.
After the defeat of the Taliban government, RAWA warned that the NATO-allied Afghan forces were just as fundamentalist and dangerous as the Taliban. They charge that the government led by President Hamid Karzai lacked support in most areas of Afghanistan, and that fundamentalists are enforcing laws unfairly treating women as they were under the Taliban. These claims are supported by media reports about the Herat government of Ismail Khan, who has created a Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice that forces women to obey strict dress and behavior codes, as well as many reports by Human Rights Watch. One report released by Human Rights Watch in 2012 describes a situation where women are punished by the judicial system for attempting to escape from domestic abuse and also occasionally for being victims of rape. It says that Karzai is "[u]nwilling or unable to take a consistent line against conservative forces within the country," and that the lack of improvement in the plight of women in Afghanistan after ten years is "shocking."