Kimberly Motley: The Only Foreign Lawyer to Practice in Afghanistan

Kimberley Motley is an American international human rights attorney, philanthropist, author, and former beauty queen, of African-American and Korean descent.

She is also the mother of three, and former Mrs. Wisconsin-America 2004, who is known for being the first foreign attorney to litigate in Afghanistan since 2008.

She is licensed and has permission to practice in Afghanistan, Wisconsin, the United States Supreme Court, Dubai International Financial Courts, and the International Criminal Courts. She is considered one of the most effective defence attorneys operating in Afghanistan.

The people she works with range from imprisoned Afghan women to foreign reporters and kidnap and rape victims.

Who’s this legal eagle?

Kimberly Motley, a US attorney. She’s the first and only foreign lawyer to practise in Afghanistan.

How long has she been working in that part of the world?

Ms Motley arrived in 2008 and, eight years later, the former US beauty queen remains the only foreigner with a license to practise in Afghanistan’s courts.

What’s her client base like?

The people she works with range from imprisoned Afghan women in Kabul’s Badam Bagh prison to foreign reporters and kidnap and rape victims.

Has she ever found herself on the wrong side of the law?

The upper echelons of the state aren’t her biggest fans, seemingly. Ms Motley, 38, says she has been “heavily pressured by the Government” to stop working on certain cases.

Why not just go back home?

Ms Motley is committed to defending human rights in the country. She describes herself as “a legal archaeologist,” and immerses herself in Islamic texts to identify passages that might help her clients, particularly women. A line stating “a woman is never to be inherited,” can be interpreted as “a woman must never be forced to marry,” she says.