Afghanistan Mourns a Revered Trailblazer

Suhaila Siddiq, surgeon, health minister, and trailblazer for Afghan women, died Friday in Kabul.

Siddiq, revered as an “icon of possibility for women and girls in Afghanistan,” blazed her way through the ranks of the Afghan medical corps to direct a Kabul military hospital and become 1 of just 2 women appointed to the country’s post-Taliban transition government.

But she took orders from no one.

In the 90s, after the Taliban dismissed women from the workplace, they deemed her irreplaceable and begged her back. She agreed—on the condition she wouldn’t be forced to wear a burqa. She also “once slapped a Kalashnikov-toting mojahedin warrior across the face” for his impudence.

Thought to be in her early 80s, Siddiq had Alzheimer’s disease and reportedly was suffering from COVID-19 complications.
 
The Washington Post

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