03/04/2005, 00.00
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First female provincial governor in Afghanistan

Kabul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Yesterday Afghanistan named its first female provincial governor, a step forward in the slow political progress of women since the fall of the Taliban more than three years ago. The appointment of Habiba Sorabi as the new governor of Bamiyan was announced in a brief statement on state-run Kabul Television.
Sorabi, who was picked from an all-female short list, served as women's affairs minister in the previous interim administration of President Hamid Karzai, which approved a constitution enshrining equal rights for women last year.
Conditions for women in Afghanistan have gradually improved since the overthrow in late 2001 of the Taliban regime, which barred women from education and from venturing out of doors unveiled.
However, conservative Muslim beliefs mean women effectively remain second-class citizens in much of the country and few occupy senior jobs.
Karzai's new administration, formed after his October election victory, contains three women ministers.
Sorabi fled to live in neighbouring Pakistan during the Taliban's rule, only returning after US-led forces overthrew the fundamentalists.

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