‘We are struggling’: two former officials at Afghan women’s affairs ministry | Afghanistan

Gul Bano* and Karima* are activists who ran provincial branches of the ministry of women’s affairs in two completely different components of Afghanistan. Their former workplaces have been taken over by the Taliban’s feared enforcers, the ministry for the promotion of advantage and prevention of vice. They are now in hiding, afraid of the boys they helped put in jail for home violence and different abuses, a lot of them within the Taliban or with household hyperlinks to the militants.

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Afghanistan: the left behind


Afghanistan: the left behind


The crowds combating to get into Kabul airport for evacuation dispersed months ago,
however whereas the scramble to go away Taliban-controlled Afghanistan turned
much less seen when the final overseas troops left in August 2021, it received no
much less determined.

Since then, reprisal killings have commonly been reported from throughout the nation, together with dozens detailed in a recent report from Human Rights Watch.

For these nonetheless in Afghanistan, dwelling in hiding or in everlasting worry for months now, the hazards appear to be rising because the choices for escape slim.

The UK authorities has tightened rules for its ARAP visa programme for former workers.

A second scheme providing a path to security to a wider part of Afghans at threat was heavily promoted by the federal government nevertheless it solely began operating this month, and there are no particulars of how people can apply.

And whereas the Taliban
have largely saved a promise to permit these with tickets and paperwork
to fly out, Afghan passports are tough to safe , visas are even
tougher, and flights are nonetheless prohibitively costly.

sequence options the tales of those that are trapped, in Afghanistan or
in limbo as they seek for protected haven, fearing for his or her lives from
Taliban assaults or via starvation as a result of they can’t work.

Emma Graham-Harrison

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I do know at least 4 ladies activists or authorities employees who’ve been killed within the final 4 months, and one who was kidnapped and it isn’t clear what occurred to her.

I moved from my province to an even bigger metropolis in July, however the safety state of affairs there was additionally dangerous so I set off for Kabul, planning to get my passport and go away the nation. Sadly my household and the Taliban arrived in Kabul on the identical day, and we are nonetheless ready for the passports.

I advocated for girls for the previous 15 years, that’s why Taliban are in search of me. I supported ladies who had been victims of violence, and I used to be threatened for that even below the final authorities. Six ladies from our workplace had been killed in recent times.


Within the first few days of Taliban rule I received so many calls, asking the place is that this girl and that girl you supported, what’s their tackle?

Ladies we had been supporting and serving to to flee from violent conditions had been principally from very distant areas and villages below Taliban management, so their relations had been Taliban. And these had been a few of the folks calling me and threatening me.

Lots of the abusers had been imprisoned due to our work for women’s rights, then the Taliban took over and launched all of the prisoners, and now a lot of the threats are coming from these abusers. In accordance with their standpoint I’m not even a Muslim as a result of I used to be advocating for women’s rights.

I don’t really feel protected right here. We modify the place we are staying each week and I’ve advised even my very shut relations that we left Afghanistan already. We are in a disaster as we now have no wage to pay hire, – along with fears concerning the Taliban, we even have to fret about chilly and starvation.

We utilized for asylum all over the place we may consider, together with the UK, and obtained no information, so I’m right here with my husband and youngsters, ready and sitting. I’m positive I gained’t be capable of stay in Afghanistan. Even when I don’t get assist, I’ll smuggle myself to Iran, Tajikistan or Pakistan.

Gul Bano

I’ve been dwelling in worry and shock because the fall of Kabul. We held a women’s protest they usually tried to assault and cease us. So now I’m in hiding and all the time below direct menace as a result of my job as a women’s rights activist and a [former] authorities worker.

I’ve been receiving threatening calls every day, not solely from the Taliban but additionally from relations and relations of these ladies I attempted to defend. They inform me: “We are following you, we see you however you don’t see us.”

Even below the earlier authorities there have been a number of makes an attempt towards my life by these males, which luckily I escaped unhurt

I fled my residence when the Taliban took over they usually seized it, looted all my possessions and took all of my paperwork. It’s in an excellent neighbourhood, and now probably the most senior Taliban officials within the province lives there, which breaks my coronary heart.

I used to be defending women’s rights in that home and the Taliban are dwelling there now. It hurts me, and I’m dealing with actual psychological well being challenges now.

It’s not solely me. We, the heads of the ministry of women’s affairs workplaces in 34 provinces, are struggling. The Taliban are making an attempt to trace us down and we solely attempt to preserve ourselves protected by altering the place we keep.

I ask anybody on the market on the earth who can do one thing: assist Afghan ladies and get us out of this humiliation. I’ve thus far requested a number of nations for assist however obtained no constructive response, though they introduced that they’ll assist Afghan ladies who are in peril.

All I received is an electronic mail from the US state division saying they’ll solely assist those that had been their workers and that they are sorry.

*Names have been modified for this text.

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