Afghan women’s rights campaigner and vociferous opponent of Taliban ideology

Nearly 40 years of war and insecurity have taken their toll on Afghan women, and access to education, health services and the rule of law remain severely limited. Sima Wali, who has died aged 66 from multiple system atrophy, a rare neurological disease, was a persistent voice in her countrywomen’s battle for better rights.

As president of Refugee Women in Development, a nonprofit organisation that she established in the US in 1981 after fleeing Afghanistan for fear of communist persecution, Wali raised international awareness of the plight of Afghan women, and raised millions of dollars in funding for women-led Afghan organisations, in her own “jihad for social justice and peace”.

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