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    Joya issued visa, says US

    WASHINGTON (PAN): The United States on Thursday said it has issued visa to Afghan politician, writer and human rights activist, Malalai Joya, who was earlier denied permission to travel to the country.

     “She (Joya) has been issued a visa.  I can confirm that she’s been issued a visa,” the State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, told reporters when asked about the denial of visa to her.

    In a joint letter the American Civil Liberties Union, American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and PEN American Center had urged the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, expressing concern over the denial of a visa to Joya.

    Toner, however, did not give reason for denial of visa in the first place. Joya is planning a three-week speaking tour relating to paperback edition of her memoir, A Woman Among Warlords. Joya toured the US last year in connection with the release of the hardcover edition of the book.

     “Ms. Joya has an extraordinary story and a great deal to add to the ongoing discussion about the lives of the Afghan people, women in particular, about the current political and social realities in her country, and about the wisdom and success of American diplomatic and military efforts in Afghanistan. Americans should not be denied the chance to meet with her, to hear her speak, and to engage her in debate," the letter said.

     “Ms. Joya is an important figure in Afghan politics and a leader of the Afghan women's rights movement, and Americans should not be denied the opportunity to meet with her in person and to hear her speak. We urge you to issue her a visa that would allow her to visit the United States,” the human rights organizations said.