Tue, May 09, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Afghan MP irks former warlords


Former warlords who are now members of parliament (MPs) in Afghanistan hurled water bottles and rushed at a woman MP on Sunday after she accused them of being involved in the deaths of thousands of people.

Malalai Joya said bearded and turbaned MPs who were once warlords in the country's decades of conflict had to be restrained from physically attacking her after a heated session of the four-month-old parliament.

The uproar, in which several MPs rose from their chairs shouting, was shown on television. A cameraman from a private television station said one of the MPs had slapped him across the face while he was filming the scuffle.

Joya, who has had death threats against her after a similar outburst during a meeting to draw up a post-Taliban Constitution in 2003, alleged that she had heard a prominent former warlord telling his men "to stab me with a knife."

"Several of them threw water bottles at me and many others rushed towards me to beat me up," she said in an interview.

Joya, in her late 20s, said the MPs had reacted angrily to her statement that some of the men who led the resistance to the ten-year Soviet occupation were responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians in a civil war that erupted after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.

Her comments were made in a debate about the anniversary last month of the defeat of communism in Afghanistan in 1993 when the government that replaced the Soviet administration was toppled.

"I told them that we have two types of mujahidin -- one who were really mujahid [holy warriors] the second, those who killed tens of thousands of innocent people and who are criminals. My words sparked their anger," she said.

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