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Sediq, Sohaila


Afghan female physician who promoted health care for women under the Marxist and Taliban governments.

Sohaila Sediq, Afghanistan's first female general and the minister of health during the interim government of Hamid Karzai, was born in 1941 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. She is a Durrani Pushtun and belongs to the Mohammadzai clan. She received a medical degree in the Soviet Union and was promoted to the rank of military general by the Marxist regime of Babrak Karmal (19801986) in recognition of her service as a surgeon during the fighting between the Karmal regime and the mojahedin (Afghan freedom fighters). Although she received her medical training in the Soviet Union and worked closely with Soviet doctors in the military hospital in Kabul, there is no evidence to suggest that she joined the Afghan communist party (the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan). She was director of the Women and Children's Hospital in Kabul under the Taliban and an advocate for the protection of women, but she opposed the campaign in support of Afghan women led by Western feminists and Afghan women activists in exile; in her opinion, they were inadequately informed about conditions inside Afghanistan and attempted to use the plight of Afghan women to promote a Western feminist agenda. She is highly regarded by educated women inside Afghanistan.

senzil nawid

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