top of page

The Resilient Afghan Women: Voices of Unheard

by Ishita Roy

What’s happening in Afghanistan today is going to put this country 200 years back. – Mahbooba Seraj, founder, Afghan Women’s Network

The west saw Afghans worthy of only twenty years of freedom and human rights for the guilt that they had carried for destroying the country. Afghanistan that we see today is a product of the British occupation of India and neo-colonialism by the USSR and the USA. The CIA under Operation Cyclone funded groups to topple the USSR rule in Afghanistan that later became the Taliban.

Furthermore, regional powers like Pakistan, China, Iran, and Gulf Arab states have played their roles to support the warlords.

Looted resources for 80% of the world's pharmaceuticals. Worth $3 trillion. And once their work was all done. Left the people in the dark. To die in the hands of the Taliban.

You play the towers falling on 9/11 every year. My people do not have the luxury. My people are constant gardeners, planting flowers on top of mass graves. We have too many dates to grieve; your 9/11 is our 24/7. We exist within these systems that were meant to kill us, and while you sit in privilege, we fight amongst ourselves, our morale lowered each time, we grow closer to believing there is nothing left to salvage. Look what you’ve done. I hope it haunts you.”- Madina Wardak

A new series of trauma, atrocities, and violence has been unleashed as the Taliban captured the final point. The capital of Afghanistan- Kabul. Hundreds of thousands of people made their way to Hamid Karzai International Airport, hoping to escape from the unruly. We all have seen videos of people rushing, looking for room in an already loaded plane. Videos of two people falling off the airplane. Everyone is fighting for their lives. To flee off the country. But what about the women?

The picture showing 600+ Afghans inside RCH 871 has gone viral. But how many of them were women? What happened to the women and children who could not make it?

For those who think that this is the new Taliban. The one that’s changed. Holding press conferences. Showing up for interviews with women anchors. Assuring women healthcare workers of their safety. I am sorry to break your bubble, because you are wrong! Literally, nothing has changed. All of these instances are just PR Stunt.

Under the Taliban rule, a lifetime of rape and sexual slavery awaits for these women. The Taliban confirmed that women will have their rights. But there’s a catch. They will have their rights as per sharia. Any democratic rights which are not in accordance with sharia would therefore not be given to the women.

According to Daily Mail, the Taliban has forced the imams to bring in a list of unmarried girls for their soldiers. These girls are viewed as qhanimat (spoils of war), which gives the victors full rights over the spoils, in this case, the women. Women are further prohibited from stepping out in the streets without a blood relative. They are forced to wear a burqa. A burqa should be worn only by choice, and thus should not be seen as a symbol of oppression. However, with the Taliban taking over Afghanistan, women are left with no choice on their own bodies.

A 40-year-old woman Wazi Nazary was shot in her face by Taliban assailants on August 10, 2021. Another Afghan woman journalist Shabnam Dawran was barred from work. Female students and professors were denied entry into Herat University. Zar Begum was able to flee Kabul, but her sons were killed, and her daughter-in-law was forcibly married (PBS and Radio Liberty).

I have nearly completed two simultaneous degrees from two of the best universities in Afghanistan I should have graduated in November. But today when I reached home, the very first thing my sisters and I did was hide our IDs, diplomas and certificates. Now it looks like I have to burn everything I achieved.­– Anonymous Student (Source: The Guardian)

Nasreen Sultani, School Principal, had told NBC News that she had received death threats from the Taliban, but she will still try to motivate girls to study. Naser Vedi, an Afghan student of Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi’21, I interviewed him, and he told me that his mother is a lecturer at Kabul University. She has experienced four years of her life under the Taliban rule. She knows that nothing has changed. But she still is determined to serve the nation by educating young Afghan women.

While Afghanistan’s President Ghani fled the country, women fought for their lives. For their daughters’ future. For the nation. Salima Mazari, one of the first female district Governors in Afghanistan, resisted the Taliban rule until the end. She did not desert her people. Instead, fought for them and got arrested. Knowing that once arrested, her future lies in the darkness; she still did not give up. Pastana Durrani, Executive Director of a charity that educates girls in Kandhar, Zarifa Ghafari, the youngest and first female mayor of Afghanistan, and many more such resilient Afghan women chose to stay back. To die for their country.

Five Afghan women took to the road to protest the Taliban rule in front of the Taliban men. Recently, Rustam Wahab, a journalist, posted that more Afghan women took to the streets in Kabul on 20.08.2021 to protest against the Taliban rule. Taliban even open-fired at the protestors and at least three of the protestors were killed, but that did not stop the women. Afghan women even tossed their babies to soldiers in the hope that their futures will be secured. While they continue to stay in the dark.

The Afghan women are fearless. They have exposed the real Taliban, who whip women, children, the elderly, and disabled people (Rustam Wahab). The Taliban erases women’s faces from public spaces. The crime, the violence, the atrocities against women that you see daily on your news channel is the real face of the Taliban. And nothing. I repeat, Nothing has Changed.

The Taliban has twisted the meaning of Islam and sharia. The first person to embrace Islam was Khadija (a woman), the greatest scholar of Islam is Aisha (a woman), even the Prophet promoted equal access to education for both men and women. Thus, the Taliban is promoting its personal agenda through terror. Leaving people in chaos and distress. And this should haunt everyone of us. It should anger every one of us.

This is the time where we all come forward to help the people of Afghanistan. Here is how you can do that:

1. Educate Yourself: Read About Afghan History and occupation in/of Afghanistan

2. Spread Awareness

3. Donate and Support organizations providing education and other development and humanitarian aids to Afghan women and people of Afghanistan: (i) Women for Afghan Women @womenforafghanwomen – for shelter, resources, aid: (ii) Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security @georgetown_wps – for humanitarian visas, emergency evacuation, safe houses: (iii) Women for Women International @womenforwomen – for safe spaces, support networks, sponsorship:

4. Save and Share posts on Social Media, so it reaches more and more people

I want the world to be silent for a moment so we Afghans can scream our pain in its heart, uninterrupted. - Shaharzad Akbar

About Author: Ishita Roy is a student of Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi, based in Delhi, India. She is an aspiring social scientist, trying for feminist voices to be heard through the field of history and journalism.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ytharth.

235 views2 comments
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page