Afghan Woman Runs for President Despite Death Threats

Massouda Jalal, an Afghan woman who is one of the 18 candidates for President in Afghanistan, is determined to defeat President Karzai in the first post-Taliban elections that are scheduled to take place in October. According to Eurasianet, the Religious Order Department of Afghanistan’s Supreme Court has tried to declare her candidacy as un-Islamic and illegal twice. Jalal has also reported that she has received death threats for running for President and has been a target of intimidation.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Jalal not only has support from Afghan women, but from men who see her as a voice who stands up against religious extremism. Under the Taliban, Jalal worked as a doctor and ran an underground school for girls.

Jalal represented her district as a delegate to the emergency Loya Jirga two years ago and ran for president of the interim government. Laughed at and threatened, Jalal gained respect when she won the vote of 171 delegates. Karzai was elected interim president with 1,295 votes.

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Chicago Tribune 8/12/04; Eurasianet 8/804; Financial Times 8/11/04; Washington Post 7/8/04

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