SHIBERGHAN, Afghanistan, April 13 (Xinhua) -- For the first time, a woman in Shiberghan, the capital of northern Afghanistan's Jawzjan province, has run a cafe on her own, defying possible threats from active militants around the region.
Since opening more than one and a half months ago, the female-only cafe has offered a peaceful place in the war-torn country for women and schoolgirls to visit, meet each other, read books, play chess and exchange ideas while having tea or coffee.
"We invested more than 150,000 afghanis (some 1,958 U.S. dollars) to run the cafe with the main purpose of working on the youth capacity building," Malalay Mubarez Ahmadi, the owner of the cafe, told Xinhua recently.
"Girls are mostly coming here as they need such a place to get together and exchange views and have coffee," she added.
For women in the war-torn country who want to have a chat or engage in some activities of their own, going to recreational parks, scenic sites or restaurants is not as convenient and confortable as going to a woman-run cafe.
There are even cosmetics for those patronizing the place to choose and buy.
The cafe, with a one-time 15 people capacity, employs up to five women with salary each ranging from 500 to 1,000 afghanis (about 7 U.S. dollars to 13 U.S. dollars) every day and it opens from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time every day.
Despite growing security threats, mostly from Taliban insurgents, women have been engaging in various activities in the Shiberghan city, where nearly 45 percent of organizations' staff have been women and girls, according to Shiva Rezayee, a regular costumer of the cafe.
"Even though Afghanistan is a challenging society for women, families living in Shiberghan are relatively open-minded and they allow girls to perform their responsibilities including study and serving outside home in the society," she said.
The relatively peaceful Shiberghan city, 390 km north of the country's capital of Kabul, is not the first city where a woman runs her own coffee house.
A similar restaurant was opened in the central Bamiyan province a couple of years ago, facilitating women and girls to enjoy their life during leisure time in the historical city.
"More such small businesses will be opened by women elsewhere in the country if security situation improves," whispered Rezayee.