On the fourth anniversary of the US bombing of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban, Afghanistan has begun releasing the first results from its parliamentary election on September 18. The ballot count is completed and the election has enetered a challenge period for those who seek to contest the election. Early election reports indicate warlords, opponents of President Hamid Karzai, and women’s activists are among the winners.
For example, women’s rights activist and outspoken critic of the warlords in Afghanistan Malalai Joya came in second in the western province of Farah, winning 7 percent of the vote. Women are guaranteed at least 68 of the 249 seats in the Wolesi Jirga (lower house).
Joya received international attention when she publicly protested the selection of warlords for leadership positions in 2003 when Afghanistan was drafting a new constitution. She was then placed under UN protection after receiving death threats. Afghan warlords also reportedly won seats in the parliament.
“I hope by being a member of parliament I will be able to serve my people, especially the women,” Joya said, according to the Times (UK). “I will do my best to stop the warlords and criminals from building any laws that will jeopardize the rights of Afghan people, especially the women.”
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