Taliban appoint first woman top official as hospital director

Kabul, Feb 1 (EFE).- The Taliban government has named doctor Malalai Faizi as the director of a maternity hospital in Kabul in the first ever appointment of a woman as the head of a public institution under the Islamist administration.

Faizi “has been appointed based on merit and needs as director of the Malalai maternity hospital,” health ministry spokesperson Javid Hazheer told EFE on Tuesday.

The appointment is an unprecedented moment in the Taliban’s policies towards women since the Islamists seized power on Aug.15, as women had been excluded from public offices so far, apart from facing curbs on their freedom of movement and accessing high-school education as well as other jobs.

Only a few government departments, such as health, currently include women in their workforce.

Faizi’s appointment would have been unthinkable in the previous Taliban regime (1996-2001), which was marked by a strict implementation of Islamic law, with public punishments and women being confined to their houses.

The doctor graduated from the Kabul University in 1996, just before the Taliban came to power for the first time, and later worked in the capital’s Indira Gandhi maternity hospital and other organizations.

“We can say this is a good move by the Taliban government and the women are not only needed in health sector, they have proved capable in other sectors as well, as they proved to be equal with men in serving the country,” social activist Deeba Farhamand told EFE.

However, she stressed that the labor and education rights of millions of Afghan women and girls, continue to be ignored by the Taliban.

Hospitals such as the one to be headed by Faizi, mainly attending to women, have traditionally also been headed by women due to social norms in the conservative country, but her appointment has generated hopes in women activists, who have kept fighting for their rights since the Taliban returned to power.

“While it’s a female focused hospital so the head of it needs to be a female doctor, still, I felt great by hearing this news. Dr Malalai is the first female head of an office announced by Talib Government,” tweeted Afghan activist and former mayor of the city of Maidan Shahr, Zarifa Ghafari. EFE


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