Mohamad Zahir Shah is the exiled king of Afghanistan. He was interviewed for NPQ by Rina Amiri, senior associate for research at Harvard's John F. Kennedy's School of Government.
Rome-Traditionally, women have played a significant
role in our society, both in the rural as well as in the urban sectors.
The women in Afghanistan are our mothers, sisters and daughters. Their
active contribution is vital to the reconstruction of our country and
no effort should be spared to be sure their rights are guaranteed today.
Afghanistan has been devastated by almost three decades
of war and civil strife. We find ourselves in a situation where practically
all our traditional institutions have been destroyed. However, we must
strike a balance between our need for social change and progress, and
the concerns of the traditional elements of our society. For change to
take root, it must follow a steady course, and in each step it must be
negotiated and accepted by our society as a whole in order to be truly
anchored in our culture.