‘They’ll Kill Us’ Afghan Women Fear For Their Future As Taliban Takes Over Country

Yesterday, the news of the Taliban capturing Kabul after US forces withdrew from Afghanistan shocked the entire world to its core. Out of the innumerable things that people feared would happen next, the future of women and children particularly worried them.

In the 1990s, when the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan, women faced severe struggles. According to India Today, women’s universities were shut down, women were told to quit their jobs, cover themselves, were banned from stepping outside the house without a male escort, etc. Violent crimes against women were rampant.

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It can be said that women under the Taliban rule had no rights, freedom, dignity, or hope. After the Taliban were ousted from Afghanistan in 2001 by US-led forces, women saw a bit of hope. In the past 20 years, women worked very hard to build an identity for themselves. They studied, got degrees, worked as journalists, teachers, doctors, filmmakers, etc. But now, they feel that all the work done over the past 2 decades has been wiped out.

Speaking to The Guardian, an Afghan woman said how she along with other female students were evacuated from their university, were threatened by Taliban fighters, and had to hide their degrees.

“I was heading to university when a group of women came running out from the women’s dormitory. One of them told me the police were evacuating them because the Taliban had arrived in Kabul, and they will beat women who do not have a burqa,” she said.

“I worked for so many days and nights to become the person I am today, and this morning when I reached home, the very first thing my sisters and I did was hide our IDs, diplomas and certificates. It was devastating. In Afghanistan now we are not allowed to be known as the people we are. Now it looks like I have to burn everything I achieved in 24 years of my life,” she added.

Another female Afghan journalist said, “For many years, I worked as a journalist…to raise the voice of Afghans, especially Afghan women, but now our identity is being destroyed and nothing has been done by us to deserve this.”

In a video, another woman was in tears and said, “They’re going to kill us.”

A heartwrenching picture showing a man painting over posters of women went viral online.

33-year-old Khatera was shot last year by the Taliban who mercilessly gouged her eyes out. News18 quoted her saying:

“In the eyes of Taliban, women are not living, breathing human beings, but merely some meat and flesh to be battered. They first torture us and then discard our bodies to show as specimens of punishment. Sometimes our bodies are fed to dogs. I was lucky that I survived it. One has to live in Afghanistan under the Taliban to even imagine what hell has befallen the women, children and minorities there.”

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Many videos of women expressing their concern for their future went viral.

Afghanistan’s first female mayor, Zarifa Ghafari, said that she is waiting for the Taliban to come and kill her.

According to India Today, football players in the Afghanistan women’s national team are desperately seeking help. When they called Khalida Popal, former captain of the team, all she could do was ask them to flee and “erase their history”.

“I have been encouraging them to take down social media channels, take down photos, escape and hide themselves. That breaks my heart because of all these years we have worked to raise the visibility of women and now I’m telling my women in Afghanistan to shut up and disappear. Their lives are in danger,” she said.

Our heart goes out to the women and children of Afghanistan!

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