US grants visa for Afghan women's rights leader

AP News
Posted: Mar 24, 2011 5:46 PM
US grants visa for Afghan women's rights leader

The Obama administration is reversing course and granting a visa to a prominent Afghan women's rights activist. She had been turned down, apparently for living in hiding.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirmed Thursday that former Afghan lawmaker Malalai Joya (mah-lah-LY' jaw-YAH') will be allowed to travel to the United States as part of a speaking tour.

Toner declined to elaborate.

The decision comes after an appeal from several members of Congress.

The U.S.-based group Afghan Women's Mission said Joya was told at a visa interview last week that she wouldn't be allowed into the U.S. because she "lived underground" and was "unemployed."

The 32-year-old has been an outspoken critic of the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the U.S.

She has survived several assassination attempts.