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Last Updated: Monday, 23 April 2007, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
In pictures: Giving birth in Afghanistan

Women waiting outside the maternal hospital in Faizabad

UN video producer Salma Zulfiqar sent the BBC photos of women in the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan. "Giving birth in this province is a death wish," she said.

A woman holding a baby underneath her burkha waiting to be seen by a doctor

"Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. This mother has travelled from far to get to the Faizabad hospital, the only major facility in Badakhshan."

A sick baby being examined

"This baby is thought to have caught pneumonia. Although spring is in the air, temperatures can drop below zero and in the winter many districts are cut off from Faizabad by snow."

A group of women

"A group of women accompany a mother out of Faizabad maternity hospital with her new born baby. A woman dies in childbirth every 30 minutes in Afghanistan."

Female hospital worker holding a little girl

"There are some 20 female doctors and nurses working at the main maternity hospital, which serves the entire province of Badakhshan, home to thousands of people."

A young Afghan girl

"A young girl waits patiently outside the hospital for her mother who is expecting to deliver." (Photos and text by Salma Zulfiqar/IRIN)

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