Biography of Shukria Barakzai


by S. Ghilzai / Published on November 11, 2014
Updated by Abdullah Qazi on January 25, 2016

Shukria Barakzai was a member of the Wolesi Jirga, and is currently Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Norway.

Shukria Barakzai was born and raised in Kabul. She is from an educated Pashtun family. Her higher studies were paused until after the fall of the Taliban, and in 2003, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology and Geology from Kabul University.

Barakzai has had many professions in her life, including teacher, journalist, editor and head of NGO’s. In 2003, her political career began when she was appointed to the Loya Jirga to pass the new constitution. In 2004, Barakzai was elected to the lower house of the National Assembly of Afghanistan-the Wolesi Jirga (the House of the People). She served until she was appointed by President Ashraf Ghani as Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Norway in late November 2015. Barakzai supported Ashraf Ghani in the 2014 Presidential elections.

Barakzai is very adamant on women’s rights. She used her position as an MP (Member of Parliament) to bring light to certain issues concerning the rights of women. For example, after her husband, Abdul Ghafoor Dawi, took a second wife, she started campaigning against polygamy, trying to encourage women not to become someone’s second wife. However, after the announcement of Mullah Omar’s death in July 2015, she did confuse many when she went on an Afghan TV channel, wearing all black, mourning the Taliban leader’s death. She even referred to him as a mujahid. During Taliban rule, women were extremely oppressed.

Barakzai speaks Pashto, Dari and English. She has two sons and three daughters.