Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

As Hamid Karzai Is Elected Head of State and the Loya Jirga Comes to a Close, Afghan Women Seek a Voice

June 14, 2002
Story
WATCH FULL SHOW

US-backed interim leader of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai was selected last night to serve as Afghanistan’s President for the next two years. He won the position after delegates at the traditional loya jirga council handed him an overwhelming majority of votes, largely ignoring two last-minute challengers.

One of these challengers was World Food Program employee Masooda Jalal. She was the first Afghan woman to run for president in the country’s history—a milestone that has yet to be reached in many western countries, including the United States.

Karzai’s victory at the loya jirga comes as little surprise. Former King Mohammed Zahir Shah withdrew his candidacy under US pressure. Karzai then declared himself the chosen leader before a vote had even taken place.

Dozens of Afghan delegates walked out of the Loya Jirga assembly on Wednesday, furious at the lack of a free vote to choose the next leader of their country.

Delegates also report being intimidated and coerced by warlords, and surveilled by agents of the Afghan intelligence service. One female delegate told Human Rights Watch, "We are hostages of the people who destroyed Afghanistan. [The warlords] are trying to hold us hostage to their power."

Fariba Nawa is an Afghan born journalist who lives in the US. She is in Kabul to cover the loya jirga for Free Speech Radio News and several Western papers.

Guest:

  • Fariba Nawa, Free Speech Radio News reporter in Kabul

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.