Ten Bay Area Afghan-Americans chosen for U.S. delegation roles

The Associated Press
Friday January 11, 2002

FREMONT — Ten local Afghan-Americans have been elected to serve on the Electoral College of Afghans, representing their community to the U.S. government. 

The 10 San Francisco Bay area residents will join 30 other delegates to help advise government officials about how to rebuild their homeland. 

About 1,000 Afghan-Americans gathered last Sunday at the Flamingo Palace banquet hall in Fremont to cast their votes. 

“It was so exciting,” said Farida Anwary, the top vote-getter and news broadcaster for a San Jose-based Afghan radio station. “We wanted to take the first step toward democracy in our own society to see how it works because we’ve never done it before. And if we don’t practice the democracy here among ourselves in a country who taught us, so how can we do it at home? How can we especially expect it from them who have never had it before?” 

Rahim Sherzoy, former Afghan ambassador to Pakistan and adviser to exiled Afghan King Muhammed Zahir Shah, spoke to the gathering about the election’s importance and the need for the intellectual and cultural elite who left Afghanistan to return and help rebuild their country. The longtime Fremont resident plans to return next week to assume his new post as deputy foreign minister. 

The other Northern California delegates are: Rona Popal, Waheed Momand and Farid Younus, all from the Fremont-based Afghan Coalition; Fatima Hotak and Zabih Esmati who, like Anwary, belong to the Fremont-based Worldwide Afghan Unity Foundation; Sayed Masood Majrooh, a former mujahedeen journalist for the National Islamic Front who now runs a Fremont security firm; and Afghan community leaders Gul Ahmad Zekria, Fazal Ahmad Abdiany and Muhammed Omar Sediqi. 

The 40 delegates will attend an organizational meeting in Washington, D.C., sometime next month. 

The Bay Area, the nation’s largest Afghan-American community, is home to about 60,000 former residents of Afghanistan.