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Women In Afghanistan

Afghanistan has its first female governor. Afghan president Hamid Karzai appointed Hababi Sarabi to lead Bamiyan province. "Thank God a thousand times," said a woman named Massoma. Her daughter, Marzia, said, "If God wills it, they'll do better things."

Just under half of Bamiyans who voted in the 2004 Afghan presidential election were women. Mohamadullah, a male resident of Bamiyan, said, "Maybe they can bring lasting peace."

Governor Sarabi is not the only female taking on a leadership role in Afghanistan. Dr. Masooda Jalal, a physician, serves as Afghanistan's Minister of Women's Affairs. Sediqa Balkhi is Afghanistan's Minister of Martyrs and Disabled. And Simar Samir leads Afghanistan's Human Rights Commission.

The Afghan constitution gives equal rights to women. In Herat, women are working as salespeople, joining newly opened fitness clubs and, for the first time in Afghan history, learning to drive cars. "You feel like you're not dependent on anyone," Shaghe Karimi, a law student said.

During a recent visit to Afghanistan, U.S. First Lady Laura Bush said the country is "only a few years removed from the rule of terrorists, when women were denied education and every basic human right":

"I've especially watched with great pride as courageous women across your country have taken on leadership roles as students, teachers, judges, doctors, business and community leaders, ministers, and governors."

The tyranny of the oppressive Taleban regime, said Mrs. Bush, "has been replaced by a young democracy, and the power of freedom is on display across Afghanistan."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.