Zarin Hamid

Zarin Hamid (Afghan Women’s Network – AWN): Zarin was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her family then moved to New Delhi, with many other Afghan refugees, before moving to New Jersey. Zarin earned a degree in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies at Douglass College, Rutgers University, where she worked as a program assistant at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Zarin also worked with the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), helped in community voter registration, and volunteered at soup kitchens in New Brunswick, NJ and Asbury Park, NJ. Prior to taking up her AP fellowship, Zarin completed her Master's degree at the School of International Service, American University.

Like the city, Afghan women are on move

14 Jun

When the wind picks up, a fine rinse of dust covers every surface available. I pass the Kabul Polytechnic Institute, site of the recent peace jirga (jirga-ye solh) and Kabul University, an army training barracks, and dozens upon dozens of ramshackle shops selling everything from fresh baked bread to books and stationery. There is construction in many places, and the beautification of most streets rests in the hands of those living there. Rose bushes are quite abundant in many parts of the city, including traffic circles and road dividers, and in the garden of our office. I’ve begun working on compiling a report on UN Resolution 1325.

In the early morning, Kabul is on the move. Away from the news and certain circles working here, one can easily forget that there is a war still going on. But in every aspect, Afghanistan is still in conflict. The roads are full of compact cars, small and large commuter buses, police trucks, and the occasional military or Red Cross/Red Crescent vehicle. Waves of men and women head off to every level of work, in cars that climb the mostly broken, unpaved roads. Some areas are paved, and others, especially those smaller streets with homes on either side, still echo the tumult of the years of war that rocked Kabul, and the physical decay that occurs when there is bigger fish to fry.

When I arrived in Kabul last week, many roads were closed off around the city with police trucks for the peace jirga (peace council meeting). Many people I’ve talked to have looked at this attempt at reconciliation with pessimism, but there is still hope that something will give and peace will return throughout Afghanistan.
And like the city, Afghan women are on move, for their inclusion and are unwilling to let go of their rights. They are constantly pushing for more space for themselves, their sisters, mothers, and daughters. Recently, women managed to fight tooth and nail to gain and maintain a presence at the peace jirga. The Afghan Women’s Network took part in the jirga, weaving its members into the many committees and groups formed for discussion during the meeting. While what has developed as a result of this peace jirga is much to be seen, women at the jirga were at the least vocal and distinct in what they were advocating– women’s rights in the public and private, and women’s participation in peace building.

Posted By Zarin Hamid

Posted Jun 14th, 2010


  • Laila Zulkaphil

    June 19, 2010


    Good to hear that you have arrived in Afghanistan safely. Good luck out there!

  • Sina

    June 28, 2010


    How do you feel about the US government’s financial support of the Taliban?

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