The Daily Telegraph.au, June 19, 2007
Malalai Joya: US makes mockery of Afghani democracy
Washington "supports the same enemies, who are mentally like the Taliban. They brought them back into power"
From correspondents in New York
THE United States is making a mockery of democracy and the war on terrorism by supporting corrupt Afghan MPs who are criminals and warlords, said an outspoken Afghan politician, who has been removed from parliament.
Malalai Joya ( ), the youngest member of the Afghan Parliament (Photo: Darren England)
Malalai Joya, 29, was effectively expelled last month when the lower house of parliament voted to suspend her for the remaining three and a half years of her term after she described the legislative body as "worse than a stable".
Washington "supports the same enemies, who are mentally like the Taliban. They brought them back into power", soft-spoken Ms Joya said during her first visit to the United States.
"This is the wrong policy. Do not support fundamentalist warlords," she said. "Every day for the people of Afghanistan is September 11. Please pressure your government to change this policy, it is a mockery of democracy, it is a mockery of the war on terror."
The United States invaded Afghanistan after the September 11 hijacked airliner attacks on New York and Washington to oust the Taliban government after if failed to surrender Osama bin Laden, leader of the Islamist al-Qaeda network.
"Malalai Joya is a staunch defender of human rights and a powerful voice for Afghan women, and she shouldn't have been suspended from parliament, Joya is an inspiring example of courage, Afghanistan's international friends should not hesitate to speak out in her defense."
Human Rights Watch, May 23, 2007
Afghanistan has been fractured by rival warlords since the Soviet Union pulled out in 1989 and its lower house of parliament, elected in 2005, is full of ex-warlords and former militia leaders along with suspected drug dealers.
Dressed in a grey pinstriped suit with her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail and sitting in the New York offices of Human Rights Watch, Ms Joya said the parliament had kicked her out so she could no longer oppose and expose their actions.
"Many, many times they insulted me, even inside of the parliament they threw water at me and they threatened me with death, and one of them shouted, 'Take her and rape her'," she said. "They turned off my microphone."
"This is a completely non-democratic parliament, they stand up against the constitution and they do non-democratic acts," she said ahead of the screening of a documentary about her 2005 election campaign at the Human Rights Watch film festival.
One such act was a proposal in the lower house of parliament for a blanket amnesty for those who committed war crimes over nearly 30 years of conflict.
A staunch democrat, Ms Joya has sought to illuminate the role of warlords, criminals and drug traffickers in Afghanistan's fledgeling political process. "I am just the voice of innocent people who don't have guns and don't have power," Ms Joya says
The Times, June 7, 2007
She asked, "How can criminals forgive themselves?"
Ms Joya said the Afghani people had been hopeful the US-led invasion "would bring democracy for them and security for them and many more things like that, but unfortunately we are looking at a worse situation than the Taliban period".
Last year was the bloodiest in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion and, while a threatened spring offensive by insurgents has not materialised, violence has continued through suicide bombings and other attacks.
Despite death threats, Ms Joya vowed to fight on for her people and to stand in the next election.
"I will continue more and more with my struggle because most of my people are with me," she said.
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