International

Giant Steps

The monstrous regiment is on the march in Afghanistan if the news filtering in from Afghanistan is correct:

A WOMAN who spoke out against warlords is one of the first people to be elected to Afghanistan’s new parliament, in provisional results released yesterday.

As the troubled country takes its first steps towards democracy, Malalai Joya, 27, will take her seat in the Wolesi Jirga, or House of the People, representing the remote province of Farah.

Ms Joya rose to national prominence when she criticised the role of warlords in Afghanistan at a conference to approve the new constitution in 2003.

As a result she faced death threats and had to campaign under tight security. However, her criticisms found favour with her constituency in the western province that borders Iran.

Five seats for parliament were allocated for Farah province, with one reserved for a woman. Ms Joya finished second in the poll with 7,813 votes.

“I am very happy, it’s a proud day for me,” Ms Joya said.

“I hope by being a member of parliament I will be able to serve my people, especially the women. I will do my best to stop the warlords and criminals from building any laws that will jeopardise the rights of Afghan people, especially the women,” she said.

It was in Farah province that the British security contractor David Addison was abducted and murdered by suspected Taleban rebels early last month.

It had been widely predicted that in such a conservative country as Afghanistan, women would be elected only because of a quota system that guarantees them 27 per cent of the seats in parliament. So far these predictions have proved unfounded, with women in many provinces beating their male counterparts.

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