Afghan Biographies

Kamila, Seddiqi Mrs.

Name Kamila, Seddiqi Mrs.
Ethnic backgr. Tajik
Date of birth 1967
Function/Grade Deputy Minister of Commerce
History and Biodata

2. Previous Functions:
Head CEO Kaweyan Business Development Services (200401- )
Office of Administrative Affairs (OAA) Finance and administrative deputy for the general affairs administration (201410, 20160515, 2017)
Deputy Minister of Commerce (20170529, 20180629)
Afghan Cricket Board Member (20180626)

3. Biodata:
 Mrs. Kamila Sidiqi Kamela Siddiqi was born 1967 in Afghanistan. She had studied to be a teacher, but with the Taliban’s arrival in Kabul, teaching was not possible. When her father and brother had to leave the country, because they were under critical threat, she had to look for means of supporting her family. That’s how the home tailoring business started — out of a very bad situation where there was no chance for women to find work. In late 1998, with her tailoring business flourishing, Sidiqi joined the UN-backed Women’s Community Forum to bring educational, health and training programmes to women around Kabul and later, the International Organization for Migration — all against the wishes of her sister Malika, at the time the eldest in the family to remain in Kabul, whom Sidiqi would ordinarily defer to.

Sidiqi, herself, was raised in Khair Khana, a neighbourhood in north-western Kabul, where she is one of 11 siblings born to a former military officer and a housewife. Despite having to provide for two boys and nine girls, her father was adamant that every one of them were educated. Her elder sister, Malika, not only ran her own tailoring business and was the one who taught Sidiqi to sew, she has since stepped in to steer the Kaweyan Group of Companies, now that Sidiqi is a public servant. Her younger sisters Saaman and Laila, both of whom helped in the tailoring business during Taliban rule, have completed their university degrees. So, too, have their two brothers, whose courses were funded by their sister’s work.

After the American invasion and the fall of the Taliban regime, Kamila established a Mercy Corps Women’s Centre in Kabul that offered literacy and vocational courses. In 2004, she started Kaweyan Business Development Services, Afghanistan’s first business training provider. Today, the Kaweyan Group of Companies has grown to also include Baawar Consulting Group (a research and consultancy firm), Naweyan Nawed (a dried fruits business that supports over 10,000 farmers), Kaweyan Logistics (a courier and taxi service) and the Kaweyan Institute for Professionals, which trains job-seekers. The first day that Kaweyan Logistics launched its fleet of taxis that provide safe, reliable transportation, particularly for women and families, Sidiqi received some 3,000 comments on Facebook.

She was the protagonist in the 2011 New York Times’ bestseller The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s revealing book about life under Taliban rule in the latter half of the 1990s, a time when ladies were barred from school and needed male chaperones when in public. Described by actress and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie as a story “guaranteed to move you”, it reads like riveting fiction, but actually faithfully recounts how a then 19-year-old started a dress-making business that provided for her family and helped some 150 neighbourhood women put food on the table.

She speaks Dari and English.

Last Modified 2018-06-29
Established 2018-06-29