formerly known as
Womens Liberation Front


Welcome to, formerly known as.Womens Liberation Front.  A website that hopes to draw and keeps your attention for  both the global 21th. century 3rd. feminist revolutution as well and a selection of special feminist artists and writers.

This online magazine will be published evey six weeks and started February 1st. 2019. Thank you for your time and interest.

Gino d'Artali
indept investigative journalist
and radical feminist











                                                                                                            CRYFREEDOM 2019/2020

'Fear can’t control me'
Shala, female activist
<The Taliban ignore women. They think we will just disappear. And we will stay at home, but they forget that women my age were brought up to not be forgotten.> Shagufta, Housewife.

MAR 2022

26 Mar - 3 Feb 2022

FEB 2022
21 Feb - 31 Jan 2022


Click here for an overview of 2021








Why the change of logo?

International media about atrocities
against women worldwide.

MAR 2022

25 - 15 Mar 2022
15 Mar - 3  Mar 2022

FEB 2022:
25 - 18 Feb 2022   16 - 1 Feb 2022

   JAN 2022:
27-18 Jan 2022   17-10 Jan 2022
07 jan 2022-29 Dec 2021












When one hurts or kills a women
one hurts or kills hummanity and is an antrocitie.
Gino d'Artali
and: My mother (1931-1997) always said to me <Mi figlio, non esistono notizie <vecchie> perche puoi imparare qualcosa da qualsiasi notizia.> Translated: <My son, there is no such thing as so called 'old' news because you can learn something from any news.>
Gianna d'Artali

Al Jazeera
26 Mar

<<Afghan girls stage protest, demand Taliban reopen schools
More than two dozen girls and women stage protests in front of the Ministry of Education against the Taliban’s decision to shut schools.
More than two dozen girls and women have staged protests in front of the Ministry of Education in the capital, Kabul, days after the Taliban administration shut secondary schools for girls until further notice, following which the Afghan group has been accused of reneging on its promise on higher education for girls. Thousands of jubilant girls across Afghanistan had flocked to learning institutions on Wednesday – the date the education ministry had set for classes to resume for girls of all ages. But just hours into the first day, the ministry announced a shock policy reversal that left youngsters saying they felt betrayed and foreign governments expressing outrage. On Friday, the United States cancelled planned talks with the Taliban in Qatar that were set to address key economic issues after the group’s decision to close schools. The decision, which the Taliban has yet to explain, means girls above the sixth grade will not be able to attend school. <Open the schools! Justice, justice!> chanted protesters on Saturday, some carrying school books as they gathered at a city square in Kabul. They held banners that said <Education is our fundamental right, not a political plan>, as they marched for a short distance and later dispersed as Taliban fighters arrived at the scene.>>
Read more here:

Opinion by Gino d'Artali: no weaponry of watever kind will break the power of the Afghanistan's girls and women's will and demand to be educated the way they want and what they want to learn!

Al Jazeera
26 Mar 2022

<<Afghanistan: Taliban girls’ education ban won’t last, says Malala
The armed group ruling Afghanistan closed girls’ secondary schools just hours after reopening them this week.
The Taliban’s ban on girls’ education will not last forever, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has said, emphasising that Afghan women now know what it is to be <empowered>. The armed group, now ruling Afghanistan, closed girls’ secondary schools just hours after reopening them this week, prompting a small protest by women and girls in the capital Kabul. <I think it was much easier for the Taliban [to enforce] a ban on girls’ education back in 1996,> Yousafzai, who won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her fight for all children’s right to education, told the Doha Forum in Qatar on Saturday. <It is much harder this time – that is because women have seen what it means to be educated, what it means to be empowered. This time is going to be much harder for the Taliban to maintain the ban on girls’ education. This ban will not last forever.> The Taliban stopped girls from attending school during its rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when it was removed by the US-led invasion.
<On Tuesday, we joined millions of Afghan families in expressing our deep disappointment with the Taliban’s decision to not allow women and girls to return to secondary school,> a State Department spokesperson said on Friday. <We have cancelled some of our engagements, including planned meetings in Doha [Qatar’s capital] around the Doha Forum, and made clear that we see this decision as a potential turning point in our engagement.> On Saturday, US special envoy Thomas West said he expects the Taliban to reverse its decision <in coming days>. Yousafzai, who survived a Pakistani Taliban assassination attempt when she was 15, said girls’ schooling should be a condition of diplomatic recognition for the Taliban.>>
Read more here:

Malala Yousafzai:
<Malala Says Taliban 'running Out Of Excuses' For Preventing Girls From Receiving Education.>
Her opinion as published by
3 Feb 2022

<<Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai recently said that the Taliban is running out of excuses as they can no longer use religion as an excuse for preventing Afghan girls from receiving education. Ever since the Taliban seized power over the war-torn nation on August 15 last year, a series of discriminatory rules have been enacted by the Islamist group across Afghanistan. Such instructions suggest a return to the strict ruling of the group’s past tenure in power, despite promises of a milder form of government. Speaking to BBC, Malala, who was shot by the Pakistani Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education, noted that ever since the militant group took over Kabul in mid-August, the lives of women in Afghanistan changed completely. But while hailing the women protesters in the war-torn nation, she said that there has been pressure on the Taliban to listen to the voices of Afghan women in the Gulf and ensure that their rights are protected. Afghan women protest against Taliban’s policies According to BBC, students have returned to some public universities in Afghanistan for the first time since the Taliban seized power in August. However, the Islamist authorities have also said that male and female students should be segregated on the curriculum based on religious principles. Moreover, the Taliban back in September also issued a fresh set of education laws, which greatly highlighted gender bias. It is to mention that girls are still not allowed to attend secondary schools.>>
Read more here:

and the and must read embedded article:
<<'Catastrophe unfolding' | EU Parliament Hosts 'Afghan Women Days' To Highlight Crisis Under Taliban Rule
The EU Parliament is hosting <Afghan Women Days> on February 1 and February 2 to address and shed light on the dire situation of women in Afghanistan.>>
Read more here:

Read also two articles I wrote about Malala Yousafzai here:

The Guardian
Supported by The
Mar 25 2022
By Stefanie Glinski and Ruchi Kumar

<<Taliban U-turn over Afghan girls’ education reveals deep leadership divisions. Earlier this week, girls across Afghanistan arrived for lessons on the day secondary schools were due to open for them for the first time since the Taliban seized power. They were told to go home, and informed schools would remain shut indefinitely. As international outrage grew at the U-turn, the official Taliban response was confused and contradictory. The group blamed a lack of teachers on the closures and said they first needed to create an appropriate environment for girls to study, and decide on appropriate uniforms. A statement issued by the Taliban’s education ministry then said school openings would be postponed <until further notice when a comprehensive plan, in accordance with Sharia and Afghan culture, is developed>.
Experts say that the decision to close education to girls over 11 is nothing to do with uniforms. Instead, it is a sign of deep divisions within the group about the future direction of rule in Afghanistan.
Heather Barr, associate director of the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch, said: <The uniforms are already very conservative and the schools are already segregated by gender. They had seven months to decide what type of scarves girls should wear on their heads and even those seven months weren’t enough. This isn’t a credible excuse.> <They don’t want to actually come out and admit they don’t want girls to go to school,> she said, adding that the Taliban made similar prohibitions on education and work during their rule in the 1990s. The decision to keep schools closed was announced by Umar Jalal, a director at Afghanistan’s Academy of Sciences, instead of the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid. It is believed to have been made during a three-day cabinet meeting held in the southern Kandahar province and has caused uproar and surprise even in Taliban circles. Harun Najafizada, director at Afghanistan International Television, said: <The Taliban’s older generation – represented by the group’s religious leader Hibatullah Akhundzada and acting prime minister Hasan Akhund – is ideologically opposed to sending girls to school. They can’t take it: they see it as immoral and not in line with local culture.> He added that a source close to the group’s leadership had allegedly heard Akhund saying he did not want to see girls attending school in his native Kandahar province for as long as he was alive – but seemed to not have extended that statement to other provinces such as Kabul, Bamyan or Herat.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
23 Mar 2022
By Ruchi Kumar

<<Danish Siddiqui: Family of slain journalist takes Taliban to ICC
Lawyer for Danish Siddiqui’s family says there is sufficient evidence the Indian journalist was tortured and murdered in Taliban attack.
The family of Danish Siddiqui, a Reuters photojournalist who was killed in Afghanistan last year, has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Taliban, lawyer Avi Singh, representing Siddiqui’s family, said <.… We have just filed before the International Criminal Court a communication addressing the war crimes and crimes against humanity in context to what happened to Danish Siddiqui,> Singh said, adding that <there is sufficient independent evidence that he was tortured, murdered and his body was mutilated>. Siddiqui, who won 2018 the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Rohingya refugee crisis, was killed last July while reporting in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. Several reports and investigations, including by this reporter, have corroborated disturbing details of the illegal detention, torture and murder of Siddiqui and the mutilation of his body. An Afghan commando, Sediq Karzai, was also killed alongside the journalist. <The Taliban had refused to return his body to the authorities. We had to make several appeals to their leaders, and reasoned that he was Muslim and deserved a respectable burial,> Jan Mohammad, a local civil activist involved with the investigations last year, told Al Jazeera. Mohammad’s name has been changed to protect his identity.>>
Read more here:

23 Mar 2022
By Weronika Strzyżyńska and Akhtar Mohammad Makoii

<<‘Is it a crime to study?’: outcry as Taliban bar girls from secondary schools.
The Taliban are facing international condemnation after they announced on Wednesday that girls would not be allowed to attend secondary school, despite their previous assurances.
<The denial of education violates the human rights of women and girls,> said Michelle Bachelet, the UN human rights high commissioner. <Beyond their equal right to education, it leaves them more exposed to violence, poverty and exploitation.>
Samira Hamidi, an Amnesty International campaigner in Afghanistan, said: <This is a worst nightmare come true for the women and girls of Afghanistan, who have had their future and all they had hoped and worked for ripped away from them over the last year.> Hamidi said the Taliban had <betrayed> the country by <depriving a generation of women and girls of their right to education>. Bachelet said the decision was <of grave concern at a time when the country desperately needs to overcome multiple intersecting crises. Disempowering half of Afghanistan’s population is counterproductive and unjust>. The surprise announcement came late on Tuesday night. Many teachers and pupils found out only on Wednesday morning, the first day of the school year in Afghanistan, as girls prepared to return to class after a six-month break caused by the turmoil in the country. <Lots of excited girls were already waiting outside the school. They were here hours before their classes started. They were very happy and excited. Then we told them about the new order,> a schoolteacher in Kabul said. <Many of them started arguing. I had nothing to tell them. I left an hour ago. I cried.> By the end of the school day, the teacher said, some of the girls were still standing outside the building, unable to <to move their legs to go back home>.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
23 Mar 2022

<<The Taliban closes Afghan girls’ schools hours after reopening
Backtracking by the Taliban means female students above the sixth grade will not be able to attend school.
The Taliban administration in Afghanistan has announced that girls’ high schools will be closed, hours after they reopened for the first time in nearly seven months. The backtracking by the Taliban means female students above the sixth grade will not be able to attend school. A Ministry of Education notice said on Wednesday that schools for girls would be closed until a plan was drawn up in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan culture, according to Bakhtar News Agency, a government news agency. <We inform all girls high schools and those schools that are having female students above class six that they are off until the next order,> said the notice.
<Yes, it’s true,> Taliban spokesman Inamullah Samangani told AFP when asked to confirm reports that girls had been ordered home.
He would not immediately explain the reasoning, while education ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmad Rayan said: <We are not allowed to comment on this.> <It’s very disappointing that girls, who were waiting for this day, made to return from school. It shows that Taliban are not reliable and cannot fulfill their promises,> Shukria Barakzai, an Afghan politician and journalist based in London, said.
<It means that secondary and high schools are banned for girls. matterEven primary schools are not open across the country. Most of the provinces do not have girls’ primary schools,> Barakzai told Al Jazeera from London. <It shows that the Taliban is exactly the same as before – they are against girls’ education.> >>
Read more here:

And also the embedded articles (links to) on the matter:
-At Oslo talks, West presses Taliban on rights, girls education
-In Afghanistan, Taliban diktat sparks debate about women’s attire

Al Jazeera
22 Mar 2022
<<From: The Stream
How is life for Afghan women under Taliban rule?
Women’s rights have eroded in Afghanistan in the seven months since the Taliban took power, despite promises by the leadership to uphold them. The group has banned Afghan women from most paid employment, hindered women’s free movement, shut down and abolished the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and silenced female journalists. Access to education has been especially hampered, leaving millions of girls and women with few opportunities to achieve their dreams and boost household incomes. Less than one-third of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces have allowed girls’ schools to reopen, and secondary classes, due to start this week, face strict conditions. Taliban officials say new women students will not be allowed out of the country without a male chaperone. Women are fighting back. Since last August, a growing network of women have organised protests demanding the right to work and go to school. In Herat province, a speech by a young student demanding her education went viral, while teacher unions pledged mass public protests outside government offices if girls were barred. Officials relented and schools reopened, but girls were not allowed to take their end-of-year exams.>>
Read more here:

21 Mar 2022
By Simran Sethi

<<Nowruz is banned in Afghanistan, but families continue to celebrate.
The Taliban may have banned the Nowruz holiday, but it cannot erase the Persian new year from people's minds. <When I think of Nowruz, I can only think of the food,> Shararah (a pseudonym to protect her identity) says with a broad smile. The 23-year-old teacher is Zooming in from a modest apartment in Kabul, Afghanistan, reflecting on the holiday that marks the start of spring. Despite the late hour, Shararah is animated, her face growing increasingly brighter as she describes the once-bustling streets of Mandawi market in Kabul's old district, colorful stalls that she and her sister would navigate one by one. A place, she says, where <you could find everything from a needle to a cow.> But in early March, the Taliban's Ministry of Vice and Virtue confirmed that there will be no official Nowruz celebration this year. This came about less than seven months after the Taliban reclaimed the government as the U.S. military withdrew. The holiday — dating back 3,500 years and celebrated by more than 300 million people across the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus — has been designated as <magus,> or pagan, and abolished, exactly as it was in 1996, when the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan.>>
Read more here:

And also:
Al Jazeera
21 Mar 2022
By Lynzy Billing

<<‘One day to enjoy’: Economy woes dampen Afghan Nowruz celebration. The Taliban rule and the flagging economy have seemingly put a dampener on celebrations this year.
Kabul, Afghanistan – Groups of women bustle through the female entrance of Sakhi Shah-e Mardan Shrine in Karte Sakhi in western Kabul, where many Afghans gather every year to celebrate Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring. They rush towards the mosque located inside the shrine premises, posing for selfies and TikTok videos, wearing colourful dresses donned with sequins. This is the first Nowruz since the Taliban returned to power 20 years after they were toppled in a United States-led invasion.
The popular festival was banned during the Taliban’s previous rule between 1996 and 2001. On Sunday, the Taliban administration said there would be no public holiday for the Persian New Year, though they said they would not stop people from celebrating the festival if they wanted to. Most businesses in Kabul have chosen not to open, the owners opting to stay at home with their families for Nowruz. A few street vendors are selling food along the roads, but they are outnumbered by the Taliban in a heavy show of security despite the largely empty streets.>>
Read more here:

Opinion by Gino d'Artali:
'A show of security' or better said an armed and clear taliban sign to stay off the streets. Little do they know that the tradition says that who stays indoors people bring disaster upon themselves. Whatever they do in this situation but the evil knife (read the taliban) cuts both ways, whether one is inside or outside.

Al Jazeera
20 Mar 2022

<<Afghanistan world’s unhappiest country, even before Taliban
Afghanistan ranked last in the World Happiness Report among 149 countries surveyed, with Lebanon following.
Afghanistan is the unhappiest country in the world – even before the Taliban swept to power last August. That is according to a so-called World Happiness Report released before the United Nations-designated International Day of Happiness on Sunday. The annual report ranked Afghanistan as last among 149 countries surveyed, with a happiness rate of just 2.5. Lebanon was the world’s second saddest country, with Botswana, Rwanda and Zimbabwe rounding out the bottom five.
Researchers ranked the countries after analysing data over three years. They looked at several categories, including gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, social safety nets, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity of the population, and perceptions of internal and external corruption levels. Afghanistan stacked up poorly in all six categories, as it did before the Taliban’s return to power. The country was under the United States occupation for 20 years during which Washington alone spent $145bn on development, according to reports by the US special inspector general for Afghanistan.
Still, there were signs of increasing hopelessness.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
18 Mar 2022

<<Taliban release three Afghan journalists after media crackdown
TOLO TV staffers were arrested after the channel broadcast a report on the Taliban’s ban on foreign drama series.
The Taliban have released three employees of Afghanistan’s largest television station after detaining them for reporting that the country’s new rules were cracking down on media freedoms. The report on TOLOnews said that the Taliban had banned all broadcasts of foreign drama series, a channel executive said. Three staffers from TOLOnews were taken from the station in Kabul on Thursday evening and arrested, according to Khpalwak Sapai, the channel’s head of news, who was one of the arrested. Sapai later said that he and Nafay Khaleeq, the station’s legal adviser, were released within hours, later on Thursday. Bahram Aman, a news anchor, was kept in custody overnight and released on Friday evening, the station said.
<After almost 24 hours I have been released from prison. I will always be the voice of the people,> Aman wrote on his Facebook page. <Our job is to deliver information to the people,> said Sapai in a statement issued by the network after Aman’s release. <For this reason we always suggest that any issue related to the media or TOLOnews be shared through the Ministry of Information and Culture.>
“Ever increasing restrictions”
The United Nations and the Committee to Protect Journalists decried the arrests and demanded the Taliban stop harassing Afghan journalists and stifling free expression through threats, arrests, and intimidation. <The Taliban must immediately … stop detaining and intimidating members of the Afghanistan press corps,> a statement from CPJ said. The UN mission in Afghanistan expressed <its deep concern about the detentions of journalists and the ever increasing restrictions being placed on media in Afghanistan.> The mission, known as UNAMA, said on Twitter: <Time for the Taliban to stop gagging & banning. Time for a constructive dialogue with the Afghan media community.> >>
Read more here:

medica mundial
11 Mar 2022

<<Afghanistan: New wave of repression against women´s rights activists.
Press Release: Cologne, 06 March 2022. Around the world, women’s rights activists are being obstructed in their work, threatened and persecuted. On International Women’s Day, medica mondiale is drawing attention to the particularly difficult situation of Afghan women’s rights activists. While the focus of the international community is on Ukraine, medica mondiale is observing a new wave of repression from the Taliban against activists and former local employees of international organisations. <The Taliban are exploiting the current media situation in order to step up their efforts against people who had been working towards a free society and human rights in the past. Houses are being searched. People are being threatened and imprisoned. Violence is being used to force families of activists to disclose information on the current location of their relatives,> says Monika Hauser, board member at medica mondiale. She insists: <Afghanistan needs to remain a priority for German foreign policy. The German government has to live up to its responsibility and work at all levels to ensure protection for women's rights activists and other vulnerable people in Afghanistan.> Commitment to women's rights in Afghanistan can be life-threatening
Since the change of regime in August 2021, women have been disappearing from public life. Political participation and access to education is being refused to them. <Activists who stand up against repression and fight for self-determination of women and girls are receiving threats to their lives,> says Soraya Sobhrang, Director of the Afghan partner organisation of medica mondiale. <Women who protest and exercise resistance are in mortal danger. They are being threatened, persecuted and imprisoned. At present there is no safe possibility for women to publicly assert their rights. Women's rights activists in the last 20 years have courageously and tenaciously established support structures for women affected by violence. Now there are no longer any points of contact for these women to turn to. Even self-organised groups for people affected by violence cannot meet any more without fear of persecution,> says Sobhrang, whose organisation had previously operated this type of counselling point for women in Afghanistan.>>
Read more here:

Note by Gino d'Artali: Still, many Afghanistan's women keep fighting against the taliban.
Read more here:

medico mundial

3 facts on women’s rights in Afghanistan:
3. Rape seen as adultery
Sexualised violence is frequently treated the same as consensual adultery, which is illegal under Afghan law. This leads to women being judged and sentenced as perpetrators (of adultery) when they were raped. Activists in the larger cities have succeeded in reducing this legal scandal significantly. However, there is still risk of intra-family violence and even of so-called ‘honour killings’ in the wake of a rape or (suspicions of) an adulterous relationship. In general, violence committed against women within forced or child marriages is not being recorded sufficiently.

4. Safe houses very rare
Currently there are only 27 women’s safe houses operating in the whole of the country, and these are not secured for the future. Demand from women and girls for this type of protection far exceeds their capacity. The Council of Europe calls for one place in a safe house per 7500 residents. This would equate to 5120 places in Afghanistan. As a comparison: Germany also does not fulfil the CoE demands, but at least it does have 350 safe houses.

5. Increasing political participation by women
The participation of women in politics and the government and judiciary has increased significantly since 2001. Quotas ensure representation in the national and district parliaments, where the proportions of female delegates are now 25 and 27 per cent respectively. According to figures from the State Prosecutor, the proportion of women employed in the judiciary system has increased from 3 to 20 per cent. Across the country, 21 per cent of all defence counsel are women, and 265 judges are female, out of a total of 1951. However, during the peace negotiations with the Taliban, female participation was significantly less: very few women took part in the talks, a fact which attracted protest from women’s groups.>>
Read all here:

The Guardian
8 Mar 2022
by Lorenzo Tondo
Rights and freedom is supported by
Humanity United
<<Rights and freedom
From Taliban bullets to Russian bombs: war chases Afghan refugee across Europe. Masouma Tajik thought she had found safety and a new life – but six months later Putin’s invasion has forced her to flee again. week ago, Masouma Tajik found herself running for her life for the second time in six months. Evacuated from Kabul after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, she was now fleeing another country in another continent, this time to escape Russian bombs and bullets. A software engineer and data analyst, 23-year-old Tajik says the shock and trauma of finding herself in another war zone has shaken her sense of reality. <Sometimes, when I close my eyes, everything seems surreal,> she says, from the Polish capital Warsaw where she has finally found a place of relative safety. <When I was on my way to the Polish border from Lviv, I saw scenes which took me back to my evacuation in Kabul. Every time I saw these scenes, I felt deja vu. I had the feeling I had lived through this before. I couldn’t believe that. I left my family and friends in Afghanistan a few months before, and I was now leaving my friends in Ukraine.>
War and conflict have followed her since birth. She was born a refugee in Tehran, after her family, who are Hazara, an ethnic minority persecuted in Afghanistan, were forced to leave their home. After the family returned, and despite all the obstacles stacked against her because of her gender and ethnicity, she managed to win a scholarship to the American University of Afghanistan and became one of the top students in her class. Last August, Tajik was studying and living in Kabul when the Taliban arrived at the gates of the city on 14 August. Within 24 hours, thousands of Afghans who once felt protected by the Afghan National Army and the US military found themselves living under Taliban law. As a Hazara and a professional woman, Tajik was a target. <My boss called me to tell me that I had to leave the city and that he had found a way to get us out,> she says. Along with thousands of other desperate Afghans she managed to make it to Kabul airport where a chaotic evacuation effort was under way. <When we entered the airport, the situation was getting worse. The case was dire, with the Taliban beating people on the run. I was whipped by a group of Taliban. I was terrified.>
After days of waiting, on 21 August, Tajik, carrying only a backpack containing a laptop and Elif Shafak’s book The Forty Rules of Love, managed to find a seat on a plane bound for Kyiv. Alone in a strange city with a different language and living as a refugee, she began to try to rebuild her life. <After a few months, I found myself jobless because the company I worked for was closing down,> she says. <But I didn’t give up and got another remote job as a data analyst for a Serbian company.> Six months later, as Tajik was starting to make friends, her life imploded without warning, once more. On 24 February, Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine and head for Kyiv, which was hit by the first airstrikes soon after. For Tajik, it was time to escape again.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
5 Feb 2022
By Selay Gaffar

<<Afghanistan is on the brink of famine. How can Biden just forget about us? In my home country of Afghanistan, winter is harsh and children are hungry. Almost every parent faces the torture of not having enough food to feed their families. Across the country, 5 million children are on the brink of famine. Many young people are in despair; suicide is on the rise. The rapid escalation of war in Ukraine is set to make this crisis even worse. We fear now that soaring prices of wheat – reaching their highest level since 2008 as a result of the invasion – could multiply the impact of a famine in Afghanistan. The United Nations has seen the scale of our misery, launching its largest-ever appeal for funds for a country: $4.4bn. But rather than heed this appeal, Joe Biden has decided to claim our money at the moment of our greatest need. Last year I was forced into exile for my political activism and advocacy of women’s rights as the Taliban took control of the country. Looking on from afar, I could not believe how quickly our country faded from the news, how quickly our suffering ceased to concern even the critics of <endless war> in Afghanistan. After 20 years of US occupation, my country has been left in ruins. The US and its allies did nothing to develop Afghanistan. We were made into a dependency, relying on flows of humanitarian aid rather than building our own economic capacities. The evidence? Our current economic collapse and the humanitarian catastrophe that has followed from it. Biden may have withdrawn the US military, but he has refused responsibility for America’s intervention in our country. Instead, he has added great insult to profound injury by stealing our scarce financial resources. His actions will make the bread queues longer and the number of children dying of painful hunger greater. This crime against humanity should never be forgotten.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian picture essay 4 Mar 2022
Note by Gino d'Artali: I'll only quote small parts of the article marked by ...

>>Afghanistan six months on from the Taliban takeover – photo essay
The photojournalist Stefanie Glinski reports on a country traumatised and tired, with an uncertain future as unemployment and poverty spread and memories of freedoms fade.
by Stefanie Glinski in Kabul, Afghanistan
Some of those who decided to stay, or who did not have an option to leave, say they will have to give the Taliban a chance, even though the group has not been recognised internationally. There isn’t a large enough opposition anyway, and Taliban fighters have been stationed even in the most remote valleys of Panjshir, where the last battles of resistance played out. <We will keep fighting if we have to, we’re not tired,> said Ziaul Rahman, a 21-year-old Talib stationed in Afghanistan’s Logar province. Resistance fighters, whether in Panjshir or in the Uzbek-dominated Jowzjan province, say the same.
...<As we feared, the situation is worsening in most respects – a reflection of the Taliban’s determination to crush dissent and criticism,> said Patricia Gossman, an associate Asia director for Human Rights Watch. <Revenge killings, crushing women’s rights, strangling the media – the Taliban seem determined to tighten their grip on society, even as the situation grows increasingly unstable in the coming months.> ...Yet at a closer look the city is emptier, though the number of beggars has increased significantly. Once buzzing coffee shops are vacant; several restaurants have permanently closed. Outside the Iranian embassy, long queues of people wait for visa appointments; they say they are hopeless. At a Kabul maternity clinic, a newborn boy lies abandoned. <His family doesn’t have the money to take care of another child,> said Latifa Wardak, one of the hospital’s doctors. ...Naila, 10, from Wardak, has been having nightmares for months, even now that the war has stopped. The Kabul-based International Psychological Organisation (IPSO) has said Afghanistan is a <trauma state>, estimating that 70% of Afghans are in need of psychological support. ...<Everyone in this village has either lost a family member or has an injury. Everyone is traumatised and tired. We didn’t want the Russians, nor the Americans, nor the Taliban. We just want peace. Today I can at least tell my children that the war is over.> >>
Read the complete article and view the photo essay here:

Al Jazeera
2 Mar 2022

The Afghan revolutionary who took on the Soviets and patriarchy
In 1977, Meena began a resistance movement to fight for women’s rights and defy imperial occupation in Afghanistan
By Alizeh Kohari
Only one clip of Meena speaking — flickering, faded, just a few minutes long — survives today, and it sounds like a prophecy. It is 1981. She is 24, in a pale blue turtleneck and a dark blue dotted pinafore, her wavy hair cropped short. Meena had just delivered a speech in Valence, where she was invited by the new French Socialist government to represent the Afghan resistance movement at a party congress. Her speech so angered the Soviet delegation — the USSR had invaded Afghanistan two years earlier, and she spoke forcefully against the occupation — that they stalked out, glowering, as she raised a victory sign in the air. In the clip, a snippet from an interview with a Belgian news channel, she predicts — calmly, sombrely, pen in hand — the victory of anti-Soviet forces. But she also warns of its cost: that the anti-democratic, misogynistic factions of the mujahideen being valorised by the West in their fight against the Soviets would, in turn, devour Afghanistan.
Amid the clumsy binaries of war, Meena was treading a tricky path.
Fixated on the inferior status of women.
Meena was born in 1956, in the final decades of Mohammed Zahir Shah’s reign. The modernist king had nudged along a number of firsts for women: female voices on Afghan radio, voluntary abolition of the chadar, and ratification of the constitution by a Loya Jirga — a grand legal assembly — that included women. She attended one of Kabul’s best schools — the Lycee Malalai, named after a beloved folk heroine who rallied flailing Afghan forces to victory against the British in 1880 — but in her middle-class home, she saw her father periodically beat her two mothers. Uncommonly alert to injustice — her relatives’ casual mistreatment of Hazara servants, of the educational disparities between her architect father and her unlettered mother — teenage Meena became increasingly fixated on the inferior status of women.
How men saw women and how women saw themselves — as individuals with their own hopes and dreams, rather than in perpetual service to the family, the tribe, and the nation — would not be transformed by state mandates alone. These roles would have to be renegotiated, Meena knew, by Afghan women themselves, from within the most fundamental unit of society, the family. It is 1976. Three years earlier, the old king had been overthrown by his cousin, and the 225-year-old monarchy was replaced with an autocratic one-party state. Kabul University, where Meena is now studying law, is a microcosm of the forces buffeting Afghanistan: Marxists and Maoists, monarchists and Islamic revivalists. Meena, 20, is married to a doctor 11 years older, the only man her family could find who fit her criteria: no bride price, no second wife, no objection to school or work. He is the leader of a Maoist group. Meena also leans left, but she is not interested in being relegated to the women’s wing of a political outfit. She seeks an organisation that centres the liberation of Afghan women. There is none, so she starts one herself. It is called the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).
A fist in the mouth of patriarchy
In the beginning, there were five. A year later, 11. They were not even all known to each other and rarely met all together. Once, when they did meet, they sat in a room partitioned by curtains so they could hear the rest but could not see more than three others. Years before the Taliban first took over Afghanistan, at a time when women had the right to education, were such extraordinary measures necessary?
RAWA was not plotting the downfall of the state. At first, it was organising adult literacy classes, a preliminary step — in Meena’s vision — towards helping women from strict patriarchal families develop a sense of self. But in a stubbornly gendered society, where the only women with any real power tended to be mothers-in-law, the organisers knew their work would be perceived as a threat: it would, in Dari, be mushti dar dahan — a fist in the mouth — of patriarchy. In 1978, on the heels of a violent coup, a new Soviet-backed government began rolling out reforms across Afghanistan. Land was redistributed, the tricolour flag turned a solid communist red, bride prices reduced, and marriage before the age of 18 outlawed. Afghan society bristled at these changes — particularly, scholars have since noted, the changes concerning women. RAWA baulked, too: if the fight for their rights became associated with imperial power, it was Afghan women who would bear the brunt of the backlash. And so, it expanded its mandate, becoming, in Meena’s words, <an organisation of women struggling for the liberation of Afghanistan and of women>. One could not be achieved without the other. Anti-Soviet resistance mounted across Afghanistan, first percolating in the countryside, then spreading to the cities. The crackdown by the Soviet-backed government also intensified. Political prisoners in Afghan jails — tribal leaders, clergy, public intellectuals, students — tripled within six months. Executions were a daily occurrence. Many others vanished into thin air. Meena began visiting the families of the jailed and the disappeared, asking after them. This is how many women joined RAWA. They were struck by the fact that Meena cared. Bereft of male protection — but also male authority — for the first time, they heeded her call to channel their rage and despair into a disciplined resistance.>>
Read more here: (Opinion by Gino d'Artali: It's more than worthwhile doing so because the Revolutionaly Women active today will find inspired:

9 Feb 2022

<<'My heart and body shake': Afghan women defy Taliban.
Kabul (AFP) – One after the other, quickly, carefully, keeping their heads down, a group of Afghan women step into a small Kabul apartment block -- risking their lives as a nascent resistance against the Taliban. They come together to plan their next stand against the hardline Islamist regime, which took back power in Afghanistan in August and stripped them of their dreams. At first, there were no more than 15 activists in this group, mostly women in their 20s who already knew each other. Now there is a network of dozens of women –- once students, teachers or NGO workers, as well as housewives -— that have worked in secret to organise protests over the past six months. <I asked myself why not join them instead of staying at home, depressed, thinking of all that we lost,> a 20-year-old protester, who asked not to be named, tells AFP. They know such a challenge to the new authorities may cost them everything: four of their comrades have already been seized. But those that remain are determined to battle on. When the Taliban first ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, they became notorious for human rights abuses, with women mostly confined to their homes. Now back in government and despite promising softer rule, they are cracking down on women's freedoms once again. There is enforced segregation in most workplaces, leading many employers to fire female staff and women are barred from key public sector jobs.
Many girls' secondary schools have closed, and university curriculums are being revised to reflect their hardline interpretation of Islam.
Haunted by memories of the last Taliban regime, some Afghan women are too frightened to venture out or are pressured by their families to remain at home.
'Fear can’t control me'

AFP journalists attended two of the group's gatherings in January.

Despite the risk of being arrested and taken by the Taliban, or shunned by their families and society more than 40 women came to one event. At another meeting, a few women were fervently preparing for their next protest. One activist designed a banner demanding justice, a cellphone in one hand and her pen in the other.

<These are our only weapons,? Shala says.

A 24-year-old, who asked not to be named, helped brainstorm ideas for attracting the world's attention. <It's dangerous but we have no other way. We have to accept that our path is fraught with challenges,> she insists. >>
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medica mundial
3 Feb 2022
Soraya Sobhrang, Afghan women’s rights activist: <A network of women for women – that is our aim for the future.>
Soraya Sobhrang is an Afghan gynaecologist, a women’s rights activist and the Director of our partner organisation in Afghanistan. medica mondiale and Medica Afghanistan have been working together for 20 years, since the overthrow of the radical fundamentalist Taliban regime in 2001. After the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in August 2021, Soraya fled with her family. Eventually she was able to reach Germany safely. Here she tells us about the successes of the Afghan women’s rights movement, her view on the Taliban, and her hopes and plans for the future.
How did you experience the Taliban taking power in August 2021?
When Herat fell we knew the Taliban would also come to Kabul. The days before they reached the city were full of fear and chaos. We closed our office in Kabul and began to undertake the first evacuation measures. Then, when the Taliban finally entered Kabul, panic and despair took over. People were running around in the streets with no plan but a lot of fear. They seemed to be trying to flee without knowing where to go. As activists it was crucial for us to take care of each other during this period. We also needed to run from the Taliban, to abandon our homes and the life we were leading. We hurried from one safe hiding place to the next. Secure channels of communication were used to exchange a lot of messages, encourage each other and provide any support we could. In this difficult time, many international activists were encouraging and supporting us, including our colleagues at medica mondiale. Every day I spoke with Monika and Sybille (the Chairs of medica mondiale, Ed.) and medica mondiale provided support for all staff members trying to leave the country. This was a great help to us. >>
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