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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 18:15 GMT
Relaunch for Afghan women's radio
By Paul Anderson
BBC News


Broadcaster Jamileh Mujahed
Mujahed says politicians' support shows they care about women's role
The first radio station dedicated to the interests of women has been relaunched in Afghanistan.

The Voice of Women station promises to help women deal with the violence and discrimination they still face in many parts of the country.

It is expected to reach hundreds of thousands of women in the capital, Kabul, and more distant provinces.

The station was taken back on air by its director - and one of the country's most famous women - Jamileh Mujahed.

She was the first local woman broadcaster to appear on television announcing the fall of the Taleban in 2001.

Forced marriages

Female presenters were banned under the Taleban's strict regime.

Ms Mujahed is known for her forthright views in a country where millions of women are not allowed out of their homes by their husbands or male relatives.

It is perhaps unsurprising that women are among the hungriest listeners to radio in Afghanistan.

The station hopes to reach many as yet untouched by the changes and reconstruction taking place in Kabul and elsewhere.

Afghan women in burqas wait for aid in Kabul
The station aims to educate women and advise on social issues

Ms Mujahed, a mother-of-five, will target women's needs with programmes designed to educate, enlighten and emancipate.

She told the BBC that forced marriages, violence in the home, the rearing of children and women's participation in social and political institutions would be regular themes.

The station's relaunch was attended by cabinet ministers in Kabul, and President Hamid Karzai sent a message of support.

This is proof, said Ms Mujahed, that the government cares about the role of women in Afghanistan.

The station was initially set up shortly after the Taleban fell but closed because of lack of funds for studio equipment and transmission antennae.

A German non-governmental organisation has stepped in to make the relaunch possible.

It is hoped this time the voice of women will be able to stay on the air.




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