Kabul, Afghanistan – Afghanistan’s first female lieutenant general Suhaila Siddiq, who was also a noted surgeon and inadvertently became a feminist role model in a largely patriarchal society, died on Friday in the same hospital where she injured Had treated his country’s war for decades. She was considered 81 or 82, although her exact date of birth is unknown.
General Siddiq, who had Alzheimer’s disease for many years, died of complications of coronovirus at Kabul’s Sardar Mohammed Daud Khan military hospital, said one of his doctors, Amanullah Aman. This was his second fight with the virus; He contracted it earlier this year.
General Siddiq rose through the ranks of the Afghan army during the Cold War and went on to run the Daud Khan Hospital through the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Afghan Civil War, and the Taliban’s regime. She was one of the few women ministers in Afghanistan to oversee the Ministry of Public Health until 2004 under the transitional government led by Hamid Karzai after the US invasion. In that role, he helped implement polio vaccination across the country after the disease ended after years of instability and violence. After quitting her government job, she went back to her job as a surgeon.
General Siddique “devoted himself to the service of his country,” Mr. Karzai Said on twitter on friday. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani honored him during a memorial ceremony at the hospital on Saturday.
As a surgeon, General Siddiq was known for his clever hand, and despite his impeccable stature, he was described by those who were self-contained by those around him, especially men and Knew involuntarily
In the mid-1980s, at the height of the Soviet-Afghan War, the Communist-backed government in Kabul distinguished himself as Surgeon General of the Afghan Army after tireless efforts to save the lives of hundreds of wounded soldiers and civilians. Promoted. Who entered through the doors of the 400-bed Daud Khan Hospital. She was known as “General Suhaila”.
“I was better off working with any man ever,” said Atikullah Amarkhel, A retired Afghan general, who was promoted to his post within months of General Siddiq. “She doesn’t go home for days.”
General Siddiq was born in Kabul, probably in 1938. He enrolled in high school and then Kabul University, as his country was quietly changing during the Cold War. She studied in Moscow for several years on a scholarship and then returned to Afghanistan with her doctorate. In the years before the Soviet invasion in 1979, when she was a lieutenant colonel, she worked as a surgeon at Daud Khan Hospital.
One of the six sisters, General Siddiq was the daughter of a man who was once the governor of Kandahar, and a supporter of his education. He traced his descent Barakzai Dynasty, Which ruled Afghanistan for more than 100 years during the 19th and 20th centuries.
General Siddiq never married. Information about the survivors was not immediately available.
After the fall of the Communist government in 1992, General Siddiq retained his post in the hospital under the Interim Government established at the beginning of the Afghan Civil War.
Kabul soon split into a competition that was inherent to control. Ahmed Shah Masood, Then the Defense Minister privately asked General Siddiq to run the hospital as frequent attacks by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar following the civilian rocket attack in the capital, the appointed Prime Minister called Sher Ahmed, a family friend, against his opponents. The city was eventually torn down by attacks from all sides, including Mr. Masood.
Mr. Ahmed said, “She believed in her job, not under any rule.”
But the Taliban took Kabul in 1996, and they quickly imposed Draconian rule under a rigid interpretation of Islamic law. Women were not allowed to hold most jobs and were required to cover their faces in public.
Kathy Gannon, a reporter for the Associated Press, was in Kabul as the city collapsed and the new Taliban government began sending women home from their jobs, including General Siddiq, prompting Ms. Gannon to write an article about her.
General Siddiq and his sister Shafiq, a professor at Kabul Polytechnic University, “were smart and funny and were not intimidating,” Ms. Gannon said. “But at the same time, the Taliban quickly realized they needed him.”
Within months, the Taliban, already trying to retain people with the sought-after technical capabilities and higher education, asked General Siddiq to return to his job at the hospital, where he was among the regime’s many wounded fighters. was with. He performed several operations under the twinkling lights of a lantern, Mr. Ahmed recalled.
In a 2002 interview with the British newspaper, General Siddiq said, “He needed me and asked me to come back.” Guardian. “It is a matter of pride for me. I lived in my country, and I served my people. I have never run abroad “
General Siddiq and his sister were among the few women who roamed in Kabul without any veils or burqas – a bold statement against the Taliban, who abandoned her because of her condition in the hospital.
At the same time, General Siddiq taught medicine to female university students, whose academic careers were rapidly ended under Taliban rule. On at least one occasion, the government tried to clamp down on his teaching, but General Siddique said, Makai Siyawash, a close friend who lived with General Siddique for a short time.
“She was ready to be whipped by him, but she did not let the Taliban fighters in,” Ms Siyawash said.
One of his students, Syeda Amarkhel, was the daughter of retired General Amarkhel, who studied at the hospital under General Siddiq after he was cut off under the Taliban at the university.
“He fought the Taliban for us,” Dr. Amarkhel said. “Today I am a gynecologist, and I am grateful to him.”