Female MPs brawl in Afghan Parliament

An ugly brawl erupted in parliament between two female Afghan MPs after a row seemingly about one of the country`s vice-presidents.

Kabul: An ugly brawl erupted in parliament
between two female Afghan MPs on Tuesday after a row seemingly
about one of the country`s vice-presidents and ending only
when shocked colleagues pulled them apart.

Ex-army general Nazifa Zaki, dressed in casual black
Afghan dress and head scarf, began arguing with fellow MP
Hamida Ahmadzai and then threw a water bottle at her in anger,
in footage broadcast by private TV station Tolo News.

A stunned Ahmadzai chucked a bottle back towards Zaki,
who then launched herself at Ahmadzai, trying to grab her
around the neck and delivering a series of punches to her face
as lawmakers gathered for the morning session.

Ahmadzai tried to fight back as male MPs rushed in to
break up the scrap.

MPs were mostly tight-lipped over the embarrassing
incident that took place as British Prime Minister David
Cameron visited the capital Kabul and held talks with
President Hamid Karzai over peace talks with the Taliban.

One MP, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the pair
rowed over the reputation of Vice President Mohammad Kasim
Fahim, one of Afghanistan`s most powerful warlords and alleged
to have been involved in crime and corruption.

Deputy parliamentary secretary Mohammad Farhad Azimi said
he was not sure what sparked the fight.

"Today`s agenda was to discuss why the government does
not heed the decisions made by the MPs. Later, two of our
colleagues started quarrelling with each other and disrupted
the session. I am not sure why," he said.

About a quarter of the 249 seats in the lower house, or
Wolesi Jirga, are reserved for women, who were severely
restricted under the 1996-2001 Taliban regime.

They were banned from leaving the house unless wearing a
burka and accompanied by a male relative, and stopped from
working and attending public schools.

Afghan society is still heavily male-dominated, with men
the decision-makers in family life. Many women still wear the
burka and forced marriages are common.


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