KABUL, Afghanistan — The driver of a car that was stopped in the middle of the road, blocking traffic, was shocked when a passing motorist rolled down the window and shouted at him, “Dirty donkey.”
He was even more surprised when he looked up to see that the insult came from a woman. A woman driving a car. A woman driving a car without wearing the obligatory hijab.
That was Laila Haidari, who runs a popular cafe in Kabul that allows men and women to dine together, whether married or not, with or without a head scarf, and uses the profits to fund a rehabilitation clinic for drug addicts.
Nearly everyone addresses Ms. Haidari, 39, as “Nana,” or “Mom,” and her supporters describe her as the “mother of a thousand children,” after the number of Afghan addicts she has reportedly saved.
Haidari is campaigning against any negotiations that include the Taliban. I don't pretend to know the road map to peace in Afghanistan, but Haidari is a remarkable, courageous woman. I'm pretty sure Afghanistan needs more people like her and fewer reactionary fundamentalists with a history of mass executions.