Afghanistan's only female governor has been replaced by a man

Masooma Muradi had faced strong opposition from religious conservatives

Benjamin Kentish
Thursday 28 September 2017 15:23
Masooma Muradi was appointed by the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, in 2015
Masooma Muradi was appointed by the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, in 2015

Afghanistan’s only female provincial governor has been replaced by a man after facing strong opposition because of her gender.

Masooma Muradi, who was governor of the central province of Daikundi, withstood resistance from religious leaders and political opponents after taking the post in 2015 but has now been forced out of office.

Munera Yousefzada, a spokesman for the Afghan director of local governance, said: "I can confirm Ms Masooma Muradi, the governor of Daikundi, has been replaced.”

“This is a normal procedure in the government. We are thankful for all her efforts. This is not any kind of prejudice against women.”

He gave no reason for the move but said the governor had not been given another role.

Ms Muradi was appointed by Afghanistan’s President, Ashraf Ghani, to lead the remote province.

However, she encountered strong opposition to the idea of a woman holding a powerful position in the conservative and patriarchal country.

There are just two female ministers in the whole of Afghanistan, as well as one female deputy governor and two women district governors.

President Ghani attempted to appoint a woman to the Afghan supreme court but the nomination was rejected by parliament and a man installed instead.

He was also forced to sack the female governor of Ghor province after a backlash from religious conservatives.

Ms Muradi had previously spoken of the difficulties she had encountered as a woman in politics. Last year she told AFP that many people in Afghanistan remained strongly opposed to her leadership.

She said: “People claim to be open-minded but many cannot bear having a woman in this position

“I won’t allow men to hush me up – society is not used to that from a woman.”

Afghanistan’s political system remains dominated by warlords and strongmen who govern through a system of political patronage.

Additional reporting by agencies.

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