Afghan Women Nominated to Government Posts

Two women’s names have been released as candidates for posts in the transitional Afghan government. Negotiators meeting in Bonn named Dr. Sima Samar to be one of five deputy prime ministers as well as the minister of women’s affairs. Samar, a women’s rights advocate and medical doctor, fled the country in the 1980s during the Soviet occupation and is the director of Shuhada Organization, which runs 50 schools for girls and boys, 12 clinics, and 2 hospitals in Afghanistan as well as 4 schools for girls and boys, a hospital, and a clinic in Quetta, Pakistan. In addition, Samar runs numerous other health, income-generation, and relief programs for Afghan women living inside of the country and those living as refugees in Pakistan. Negotiators also named Suhaila Seddiqi, a physician and retired general, to lead the ministry of health. Seddiqi served in the Afghan military during the Soviet occupation.

In Quetta, Pakistan, Afghan women and men interviewed by the LA Times showed support for the appointed women, especially Samar. Mahzawar Angoor, an elderly Afghan woman, told reporters, “I thank God that now we have a woman in the government,” and when asked for his reaction, Haji Ali Jan said, “Why shouldn’t we be enthusiastic about her? She is educated and she is patriotic, whereas those Taliban, I cannot even call them Afghans.”


LA Times, 12/6/01; Feminist Majority Foundation

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