Female Lawmaker in Afghanistan Attacked

Joya Is Attacked by Colleagues on Parliament Floor After Denouncing Warlords

The Associated Press, May 8, 2006

KABUL, Afghanistan - An outspoken female legislator was physically and verbally attacked by her colleagues after saying on the parliament floor that some of Afghanistan ‘s mujahedeen leaders were criminals who shouldn‘t now be lawmakers, officials said Monday.

Moderate lawmakers in the 249-member lower house formed a circle around Joya to protect her, she and other lawmakers said.

Shukari Barikzai, another female lawmaker, said Joya‘s speech accusing some lawmakers of being warlords was calm and dispassionate, but she was attacked anyway.

Joya, who represents Afghanistan‘s western Farah province, has spoken out against warlords and drug lords before. One of the first times was during Afghanistan‘s first loya jirga, a council of leaders that helped establish the interim government in 2002 after the U.S.-led invasion to oust the Taliban in 2001.

On Monday, she again said Afghanistan‘s parliament has former warlords and members loyal to the Taliban. She said death threats would not quiet her.

The spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, Karim Rahimi, tried to stay out of the fray.

Qasim Ackajhar, a political analyst and the spokesman for the Freedom of Speech Association, based in Kabul, said this was the first outbreak of violence on parliament‘s floor.

"It has damaged the dignity of Afghanistan and the dignity of parliament," he said.

This report was reproduced by hundreds of newspapers around the world

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