Afghan Biographies

Habibi, Shafiqa Mrs.

Name Habibi, Shafiqa Mrs.
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1946
Function/Grade Afghan Women Journalists Union AWJU Head
History and Biodata

Head of Afghan Women Journalists Union AWJU:
Mrs. Shafiqa Habibi (20130103)

2. Previous Functions:
Radio Television Afghanistan RTV Presenter
Afghan Women Journalists Union AWJU Head

3. Biodata:
habibi_shafiqaMrs Shafiqa Habibi was was born 1946. She was the first female presenter on the government television channel, after having completed her qualifications from the Journalism Department of the Faculty of Languages and Humanities. Mrs Habibi has been awarded the prize for the best presenter of Radio Television Afghanistan a record 5 times during her career. Mrs Habibi is married to renowned journalist Dr Mahmoud Habibi and at the moment is involved in projects relating to Womens Rights and training of young journalists.

Shafiqa Habibi is a human-rights worker, a Pashtun, and a public intellectual from an upper-class family. She was also one of only three women in the 2004 first Presidantial Elections in Afghanistan after 2001. She was a running mate to Uzbek General Dostum.  Habibi is a remarkable figure in many ways. Her human-rights credentials are impeccable. One of 1,000 women nominated as grassroots peace workers for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, she has also won the 2002 Ida B. Wells Bravery in Journalism Award. During the Taliban period, Habibi ran eight secret home schools for girls. More recently, she worked for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Her political appeal to Dostum is obvious. As a Kabul University graduate from an educated family, married to a former high government official, she has the elite connections Dostum lacks. And as a Kabul-raised Ahmedzai Pashtun whose family is from Logar Province, she brings regional balance to the ticket. (The Ahmedzai are a large, powerful tribe, and Afghanistan’s royal family belongs to a subgroup.) She’s perfect on more subjective grounds, too: While Dostum is burly and intimidating-looking to some Western reporters, Habibi looks every inch the television announcer she was for more than 20 years.

The two running mates might seem to have a puzzling lack of common ground, until you know that Habibi and her husband were among the 200,000 Kabulis, including many of the most educated, who fled after the mujahedeen took the city in 1992 for Mazar-e-Sharif. There Dostum managed to maintain law and order and fend off the Taliban until 1997. Habibi’s husband, Dr. Mahmoud Habibi, was also in the same orbits as Dostum at that time. A Ka Khel Pashtun from a famous Kandahar family, he was variously minister of information under King Zahir Shah, president of the senate under Najibullah, and governor of Kabul, Kunduz and Panjshir provinces in the 1970s.

Last Modified 2013-01-03
Established 2013-01-03