I met a young Afghan woman who was in the U.S. on scholarship, and she introduced me to her mother Salma. I was shocked to learn that Salma had run a secret school for girls in Kabul during the time of the Taliban.
What brings comfort to my heart as a mother? I long for the day when my kids want for themselves what I want for them -- pure hearts, faith, health, open minds, great character and the drive to succeed.
"Our society is a very traditional one, where not only men are against women, but women are even against themselves. Illiteracy is an extremely important factor, as is the lack of a legal system that can adequately deal with discrimination and exclusion."
"My biggest fear is to lose the gains we have made. I am also afraid of going back to civil war. We have made so much progress and I am afraid to lose it: children going to school, young people studying and playing sport, women working. We have fought too hard for our freedoms to lose them again."
"My concern is that President Karzai controls all the boxes. Unfortunately, neither the Independent Elections Commission nor the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission have proved their transparency and impartiality."
I was held in solitary confinement for 18 months in 1978 without a trial because of my political activities. I was subjected to torture during investigations by the intelligence service and then transferred to Pul-e Charkhi prison.
Farid Mazdak is a well-known left-wing political activist. He was the leader of the Democratic Youth Organization of Afghanistan in the early 1980s and a leadership member of the Vatan party in the late 1980s.