Afghan women eager to retain new freedom
By Harris Whitbeck
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- It's been five years since 20-year-old Mina walked the halls of Kabul's Institute of Medicine.
For five years, the Taliban regime deprived her of an education and denied her the right to appear in public without a veil shrouding her face.
Just two weeks after the Taliban fled the Afghan capital, she's resuming her education, and lifting a veil to speak to a reporter. But she quickly puts it in place when some Afghan men appear.
"It is very difficult for me, I'm afraid," she says. "You don't know how much it was difficult for us before."
Women in Afghanistan hope the new government will allow them more freedom -- freedom to dress as they please, to gain an education and to work.
But women activists in Kabul are concerned they will not be adequately represented at the talks that may very well determine the country's political future.
Two women are part of the Afghan delegation heading to the talks near Bonn, Germany, and the Afghan foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah, says women's rights will be on the table.
Soraya Parlika, who heads a women's rights group, isn't convinced. She says the female delegates to Bonn were not in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime and don't know first-hand how much women suffered.
"I think that it was better if they selected some women from inside Afghanistan," she says.
The new medical student, Mina, has high hopes in the government that will be formed. but she's really only counting on herself to achieve the education she so desperately wants.
"I've decided to work and study from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day," she says. "I've lost five years, and I need to make it up."
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