Two Afghan Women Politicians Cross Swords; One Supports Taliban, The Other Wants Her Sacked
Massouda Jalal, spent a lifetime opposing the Taliban
KABUL/NEW DELHI: Former Afghan Minister and a presidential candidate at one time Massouda Jalal has crossed swords with legislator Huma Sultani, demanding she be recalled for supporting the Taliban ideology and endorsing an Islamic State of Afghanistan, similar to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Sultani has created a major controversy in Kabul with these controversial remarks, but Jalal who has been strongly opposing the Taliban and its discriminatory gender policy, is the first to take her head on. In a statement sent to The Citizen Jalal has not minced words in stating, “by declaring her support to the Taliban and broaching the creation of “Islamic State in Afghanistan, similar to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)”, Ghazni representative Huma Sultani has betrayed the trust of the people who put her in office. Her mandate deserves to be recalled. Her recall and/or suspension from the Parliament will enable the public to desist from looking up to her as a public figure and credible opinion maker in the political scene.”
Sultani first hit the international headlines in 2011 when she claimed that the wanted Taliban leader Mullah Omar had been her house guest for a long time. This was neither denied nor confirmed by the Taliban. And nor did the Afghan government or its western mentors take any notice of this disclosure. At least not in any manner that became public through the media.
Reports from Kabul now suggest that while Sultani seemed to be maintaining a closer than most contact with the Taliban through the years, she had cut ties with family and other legislators and was not sharing any information or thoughts with them.
Currently an audio tape in circulation links Sultani rather categorically to the Afghan Taliban. All over the social media this tape has been described as authentic by other lawmakers. Here she is heard in conversation with one Wahid Hasheimi in Australia and she tells him that she was involved in the recent suicide attack on the NATO troops convoy in Kabul.
The Taliban has not commented on this either, and nor has the Afghan government. Journalists spoke to her for an interview but she refused.
Sultani has drawn Jalal’s ire who was been taking a leading position of Afghan women’s rights. The statement by Massouda Jalal says:
“By declaring her support to the Taliban and broaching the creation of “Islamic State in Afghanistan, similar to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)”, Ghazni representative Huma Sultani has betrayed the trust of the people who put her in office. Her mandate deserves to be recalled. Her recall and/or suspension from the Parliament will enable the public to desist from looking up to her as a public figure and credible opinion maker in the political scene.
Sultani has a moral obligation to come out in national television and explain the wisdom behind her agitating political pronouncements. The Taliban should also issue an official confirmation of her claim as the lone peace negotiator on behalf of Mullah Omar. Unless these are done, the Parliament should consider suspending her on the ground of false misrepresentation which is a conduct unbecoming of a legislator. Her own constituents in Ghazni should also initiate a recall of her mandate due to loss of confidence. Since, she has long ceased to perform her functions as a member of the Parliament, she is no longer serving the interests of her constituents. Huma Sultani should be reminded that she was elected as a representative of Ghazni and she has no right to use her position to espouse ideologies that do not reflect the sentiments of the people whom she vowed to represent.
We are deeply sorry that a woman with an illustrious background on human rights has issued such an irresponsible pronouncement. As former head of the women’s development section and director of the central region of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, she is no stranger to the deaths and sufferings that Afghan women experience due to the Taliban’s anti-women ideologies. We call upon her to rethink her position and desist from being used as a Taliban’s pawn to aggravate the misery of our people.”