The U.S. has denied a visa to Malalai Joya, author, anti-war critic and former Afghanistan parliamentarian. One reason given her at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul was that she “lives underground.” The denial blocks a planned three-week speaking tour to promote her book, A Woman Among Warlords [Scribner]. She was named by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2010. For more information, contact Sonali Kolhatkar at skolhatkar@KPFK.ORG.
An excerpt of the press release follows:
Colleagues of Ms. Joya’s report that when she presented herself as scheduled at the U.S. embassy, she was told she was being denied because she was “unemployed” and “lives underground.” Then 27, Joya was the youngest woman elected to Afghanistan’s parliament in 2005. Because of her harsh criticism of warlords and fundamentalists in Afghanistan, she has been the target of at least five assassination attempts. “The reason Joya lives underground is because she faces the constant threat of death for having had the courage to speak up for women’s rights – it’s obscene that the U.S. government would deny her entry,” said Sonali Kolhatkar of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a U.S. based organization that has hosted Joya for speaking tours in the past and is a sponsor of this year’s national tour.