Miss Afghanistan has been stripped of her title after photos of her taken without a burqa were discovered on the Internet. Laila Kawtara only wore the crown for two weeks before the photos came to light. The title shall be awarded to the second place winner.
The nation was shocked when it was revealed by Afghanistan Today that Laila had previously posed for photographs for an online website called "Pashtuns Gone Wild." The photos, taken in 2004, depict Laila wearing only an ankle-length skirt, knee-high boots, a knee-length jacket over a long-sleeved blouse, black gloves, a hat, a head-scarf, a black veil, and sunglasses. In four of the photos, her eyebrows are fully exposed.
Habibullah Haj, the director of the Miss Afghanistan pageant, expressed outrage at the revelation. "I was shocked to see such a lewd and lascivious display. Miss Afghanistan is supposed to represent the best of this nation, and we certainly don't believe these photos reflect that."
The average Afghan shares Habibullah's views. Nura Spogmay, a 32-year old mother of four in the Allah Asifa Marketplace in Kabul, said, "The children of this country look up to Miss Afghanistan. If they see these photos, they will believe it is okay for women to walk about, flaunting their eyebrows for all to see. When we tell our girls that they must wear a burqa, they will say 'Why should I? Miss Afghanistan went out without a burqa.' And then we will have to kill them. It is very sad."
After the photos came to light, Laila held a news conference to try to hold onto her crown.
"I was young," pleaded Laila Kawtara. "I was drunk. I needed the money. They promised the photos would be artistic. It was only a one-time thing, I swear."
Despite her apology, Laila has been dethroned. The crown will go to Jamila Nasrin, the runner-up. Laila has promised to go into rehabilitation, where she will be treated for mental illness and exhibitionism.