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AFGHANISTAN WOMEN'S RESISTENCE Part 4
Afghan Girls and Women keep
fighting for education!
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.>
29 Oct 2021
<<Afghanistan’s girls learn, code ‘underground’ amid Taliban curbs.
Hundreds of girls and women continue to learn – some online and others
in hidden makeshift classrooms – despite closure of schools.
Cooped up at home in Afghanistan’s Herat city, Zainab Muhammadi
reminisces about hanging out with her friends in the cafeteria after
coding class. Now she logs on every day to secret online lessons. Her
school shut down after the Taliban took control of the country in
August. But that did not stop Muhammadi from learning. <There are
threats and dangers to girls like me. If the Taliban get to know … they
might punish me severely. They might even stone me to death,> said
Muhammadi, who requested to use a pseudonym to protect her identity.
<But I have not lost hope or my aspirations. I am determined to continue
studying,> the 25-year-old told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on a
She is one of an estimated hundreds of Afghan girls and women who are
continuing to learn – some online and others in hidden makeshift
classrooms – despite the Taliban’s closure of their schools.
Fereshteh Forough, the CEO and founder of Code to Inspire (CTI) –
Afghanistan’s first all-female coding academy – created encrypted
virtual classrooms, uploaded course content online, and gave laptops and
internet packages to about 100 of her students, including Muhammadi.
<You can be locked at home (and) explore the virtual world without any
hesitation, without worrying about geographical boundaries. That’s the
beauty of technology,> she said.
In September, the government said older boys could resume school, along
with all primary-age children, but told older girls roughly aged 12 to
18 to stay home until conditions permitted their return.
The Taliban, which barred girls from education during their last rule
about 20 years ago, has promised it will allow them to go to school as
it seeks to show the world it has changed.
A senior United Nations official who met the Taliban earlier this month
said the government was working on a framework, which would be published
by the end of the year.
<The education gains of the past two decades must be strengthened, not
rolled back,> said Omar Abdi, deputy executive director of the UN’s
children’s agency UNICEF.
After the Taliban was removed in 2001, school attendance rose rapidly,
with more than 3.6 million girls enrolled by 2018, according to UNICEF.
The number going to university, now in the tens of thousands, also
jumped. Nearly six percent of women were accessing tertiary education in
2020, up from 1.8 percent in 2011.
Nonetheless, the country has one of the world’s biggest education gender
gaps, with UNICEF saying girls account for 60 percent of the 3.7 million
Afghan children out of school.>>
Read more here:
26 Oct 2021
<<Afghan baby girl sold for $500 by starving family
Afghanistan is facing the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world, with
the country seeing a sharp deterioration in the situation since the
seized power in August.
International funds which propped up the country’s fragile economy have
been stopped as the world debates how to deal with the Taliban regime.
The United Nations has issued a stark warning – that millions will die
if urgent aid does not reach the country soon.
In this video, the BBC's Yogita Limaye travels to a Médecins Sans
Frontières hospital in Herat, in the west of the country, and rural
areas out of the city, and witnesses first-hand the dire situation on
Video produced by Imogen Anderson
and filmed and edited by Sanjay Ganguly
28 Oct 2021
<<Freedom of the Press
Watchdog: 30 recent cases of violence against Afghan journalists.
The Afghanistan National Journalists Union says 90 percent of violence
against journalists committed by the Taliban.
More than 30 instances of violence and threats of violence against
Afghan journalists were recorded in the last two months, with nearly 90
committed by the Taliban, says a media watchdog.
More than 40 percent of the cases recorded by the Afghanistan National
Journalists Union (ANJU) were physical beatings and another 40 percent
were verbal threats of violence, Masorro Lutfi, the group’s head, said
The remainder involved cases in which journalists were imprisoned for a
day. One journalist was killed.
Most of the cases in September and October were documented in provinces
across Afghanistan outside the capital, Kabul, but six of the 30 cases
of violence took place in the capital, ANJU said.
Lutfi, in a news conference on Wednesday, said while most of the
instances of violence – or threats of violence – were perpetrated by
members, three of the 30 cases were carried out by unknown people.
The report comes as Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers attempt to open
diplomatic channels with an international community largely reluctant to
formally recognise their rule. They are trying to position themselves as
responsible rulers, who promise security for all.
Taliban deputy cultural and information minister and spokesman,
Zabihullah Mujahid, told The Associated Press news agency they are aware
cases of violence towards journalists and are investigating in order to
punish the perpetrators.
<The new transition and unprofessionalism of our friends caused it,>
said Mujahid, promising the problem will be solved.
The ISIL (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for an attack by gunmen in
early October in which journalist Sayed Maroof Sadat was killed in
Nangarhar province along with his cousin and two Taliban members.
Since the withdrawal of the US forces in late August, three journalists
including Sadat have been killed in Afghanistan.
Alireza Ahmadi, a reporter of Raha News Agency, and Najma Sadeqi, an
anchor at Jahan-e-Sehat TV channel, were killed in a suicide attack at
Kabul airport during the evacuation.
Taliban officials have repeatedly urged the media to follow Islamic laws
but without elaborating. Lutfi said his group is working on a bill with
media outlets and Taliban officials to enable the media to continue
their daily operations.>>
Read more here:
27 Oct 2021
By Maziar Motamedi
<<Afghanistan’s neighbours gather in Tehran to discuss its future.
Iran says the main goal of the event is to emphasise the call for the
formation of an ‘inclusive’ government in Afghanistan.
Tehran, Iran – Senior officials of Afghanistan’s neighbouring states
have gathered in Iran’s capital for a one-day conference to discuss the
situation in the Taliban-ruled country.
The foreign ministers of Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and
Turkmenistan met on Wednesday in Tehran, joined by their counterparts
China and Russia via video link.
Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber inaugurated the meeting,
replacing President Ebrahim Raisi who was unable to do so due to
<another urgent priority>. The conference came a day after Iran’s online
petrol distribution software was hacked in a massive cyberattack that
affected petrol stations across the country.
Mokhber told the conference that the <defeat of American policies> in
Afghanistan does not mean that the United States is abandoning its
<destructive> policies across the region.
ISIL (ISIS), which Mokhber referred to as the <US proxy force in the
region>, has now targeted security in Afghanistan with the aim of
instigating a civil war, he added. He was followed by the United Nations
chief, Antonio Guterres, who said in a video link address recorded in
New York that
Afghanistan is facing an <epic humanitarian crisis> which demands
immediate action. He said the UN is engaging the Taliban, which has so
provided access, to deliver humanitarian relief to people.
Guterres also said he is <deeply disturbed” by violations of human
rights and attacks in the country since the Taliban takeover, and called
for efforts to <combat terrorism> and drug trafficking.>>
Read more here:
26 Oct 2021
Voices for justice is supported by
<<Voices for justice
<<‘Gunmen killed a midwife who refused to leave a woman in labour’
Zahra Mirzaei pioneered ‘groundbreaking’ maternity services in Kabul,
but has been forced to flee. She says she won’t stop fighting for
dignified care for Afghanistan’s women and girls.
When Afghanistan’s first midwife-led birth centre opened in the
impoverished district of Dasht-e-Barchi in western Kabul this year it
was a symbol of hope and defiance. It began receiving expectant mothers
in June, just over a year after a devastating attack by gunmen on the
maternity wing at the local hospital left 24 people dead, including 16
mothers, a midwife and two young children.
For Zahra Mirzaei, its launch – along with a second birth centre in the
east of the capital – marked the culmination of a decade advocating for
women’s birth rights. As president of the Afghan Midwives Association
(AMA), Mirzaei was instrumental in establishing the midwife-led units
promoting an ethos of respectful, bespoke care away from an over-medicalised
<In our country this approach to pregnant women is groundbreaking and
there was a great feeling of hope when we opened our doors,> she says.
<Women who had previously experienced undignified, low quality care in
poorly staffed hospitals were pleasantly surprised to discover there is
another way of doing things.>
The units in Dasht-e-Barchi and Arzan Qimat were established with
technical support and training from the Europe-based Midwifery Unit
(MUNet) and funding from two NGOs which we cannot name for security
In the initial weeks the centres, staffed with a total of 75 midwives,
were each welcoming 10 to 13 newborns a day. But as word spread,
increasing numbers arrived and this soon climbed to 25 to 30.
By late July, Mirzaei was preoccupied with how to manage the rise in
cases. But her work was overshadowed by a growing awareness of the
Taliban’s military offensive, which had gathered unexpected pace.
News of the Afghan government’s imminent collapse amid the withdrawal of
US troops was, to Mirzaei, personally and professionally shattering.
<Suddenly everything I had worked tirelessly for was under threat,> she
says. As a Hazara Shia and a longstanding campaigner for women’s rights,
the 33-year-old knew she and her three children were at risk.
<Previous Taliban governments have killed thousands of Hazara people
without any reason. Also I knew my feminist work and belief in women’s
equality would never be accepted by the Taliban regime,> says Mirzaei,
who in 2020 was named one of 100 outstanding female nurses, midwives and
leaders providing health services in difficult times by Women in Global
As the US and its coalition partners scrambled to airlift thousands of
people from the country, warnings were filtering through from Mirzaei’s
town that she was a potential Taliban target.
On the day Kabul fell, plunging the country into turmoil, she left her
office for the last time, fleeing in such a hurry she was unable to
shoes. <We didn’t expect the situation to escalate so fast,> she says.
Later that night she was woken by the sound of her eight-year-old
daughter sobbing: <I went to her and she said: ‘Mummy, I’m scared that
when I’m 12 the Taliban will come and take me to get married and I won’t
be able to go to school.’ That was so painful to hear that I promised
there and then to get us out.>
After calling every contact she could think of, she heard from a friend
in the US who could help. Mirzaei left home with her family at 1am on 23
August, still wearing the flimsy slippers in which she’d fled her
They spent a harrowing 12 hours waiting in a sewer near the airport
before being rescued by US troops and airlifted to Qatar. From there
transferred to a refugee camp in southern Spain.
Speaking from the Spanish naval base in Rota, Mirzaei explains how
leaving Afghanistan also meant, regrettably, stepping down as president
of the AMA. While she was heartbroken to give up the role, she remains a
member of the advisory board and is working remotely to support the
organisation including her successor – a woman from a different ethnic
group who is more likely to be accepted by the regime.
As the eighth girl of 10 siblings, Mirzaei understood from a young age
that boys and girls were not seen as equal. <I had two brothers but my
father wanted more boys and it made me sad girls were not allowed to
reach their full potential in our community.> >>
Read more here:
26 Oct 2021
<<Climate now a worse crisis than war for Afghanistan’s farmers.
Herders forced to sell livestock, farmers flee villages and parents
marry daughters off at even younger age amid the crisis.
Drought stalks the parched fields around Afghanistan’s remote district
of Bala Murghab, where the climate crisis is proving a deadlier foe than
country’s recent conflicts. As the world watched the Taliban wage a
stunning offensive that ended in the rapid collapse of the country’s
backed government, a longer-term crisis was building. In desperate
attempts to feed their families, herders have been forced to sell their
livestock, farmers to flee their villages, and parents marrying their
daughters at ever younger ages.
<The last time I saw rain was last year, and there wasn’t much,> Mullah
Fateh, the head of the Haji Rashid Khan village in Bala Murghab.
Communities cling to life in small clusters of mud-brick homes among an
endless ocean of rolling brown hills in this corner of Badghis province,
90 percent of the 600,000-strong population live off livestock or
fields, according to humanitarian agency ACTED.
<We sold sheep to buy food, others died of thirst,> said Fateh.
When the first of two recent droughts hit in 2018, he had 300 sheep, but
as the latest dry spell bites, he is down to 20.>>
Read more here:
Note from Gino d'Artali: Farmers have wifes and children too.
22 Oct 2021
Al M Latifi
<<Afghan journalists lament ‘bleak’ future for media under Taliban.
New regime forces exodus of journalists from Afghanistan where a free
press was one of the few real gains of Western occupation.
Shabir Ahmadi started his job at TOLO TV, Afghanistan’s largest private
broadcaster, during one of the darkest days for the media in the
nation: January 21, 2016.
The evening before, a Taliban suicide bomber had killed a graphic
designer, video editor, set decorator, three dubbing artists and a
driver who worked for TOLO’s entertainment wing.
When he arrived at the TOLO office the next morning, the guards at the
door were confused and still grief-stricken. They had no idea what to do
with Ahmadi. They looked at the then 24-year-old, who had just ended his
job with TOLO’s main rival, 1TV, and asked him if he was <crazy> to
start work at a network that had come under direct attack only hours
ago. Because the news never stops, not even when your organisation
becomes the news, Ahmadi started his job less than a week later.
Everything changed on August 15
After that, reporting on the deaths of their colleagues by suicide
bombers, unidentified gunmen and improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
routine as the Taliban, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP
(ISIS-K) and unknown armed groups continued to target journalists over
the next five years. Still, Ahmadi and thousands of other media workers
across Afghanistan, most of them in their 20s and 30s, continued their
undeterred. Newsrooms and production houses full of young men and women
worked together to make the country’s media the freest in the region,
according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) watchdog.
But all that changed on August 15.
First came the news that former President Ashraf Ghani and top cabinet
officials had fled the country. Then came reports that the Taliban,
which had just entered the districts of Kabul province early that
morning, was heading into the capital city.
Suddenly, the memories of the bombings and killings came flooding back.
Ahmadi, who was then deputy head of news at TOLO, met the network’s top
management and immediately came to two decisions.
<The first thing we did was send all the female staff home,> Ahmadi told
Al Jazeera over the phone from Europe.
The other decision they made was controversial but necessary, he said.
They immediately stopped broadcasting music and entertainment
programmes. The Turkish serials, game shows, singing competitions, talk
shows and sketch comedy shows that millions of people tuned into every
evening came to a sudden end.
Though the Taliban had made no official declarations on programming at
the time, Ahmadi said the decision was a preemptive one.
<If you understood the fear that night, you would see why we came to
such a decision,> he told Al Jazeera.
Ahmadi said he now regrets that decision, but that at the time, it
seemed like a necessary one. <We wanted to be the ones to cut them off,
not the Taliban,> he said.
Ahmadi said he tried to work as a journalist in the Taliban’s Islamic
Emirate, but it quickly became clear that would be too difficult. There
reports of the Taliban torturing journalists, confiscating their
equipment, beating them on the streets of main cities, jailing them for
weeks at a time and instituting new restrictive media laws.
By September, Ahmadi was among hundreds of other Afghan journalists and
media workers, including his TOLO colleagues, who had fled the country.
The exodus of journalists has led to serious questions about the future
of the media in Afghanistan, where a free press was one of the few real
gains to come out of 20 years of Western occupation.
Steven Butler, the Asia programme coordinator at the Committee to
Protect Journalists (CPJ), says the current media situation in
resembles that of Myanmar. Like Afghanistan, Myanmar also experienced a
recent political upheaval that saw the end of a controversial semi-
democratic Western-supported government and led to an immediate flight
of the country’s media workers.
Butler fears that, like Myanmar, the future of Afghanistan’s media is
<bleak>, but he understands why so many journalists left both the
operating in exile.
<[It] is not ideal, but it is better than being in jail or killed,> he
told Al Jazeera by telephone.
Though some Afghans have already resumed their work from abroad, Butler
said Afghans will have a much more difficult time than the people of
Myanmar when it comes to restarting their work in exile.
<In Myanmar, there was already much more of a precedent and
infrastructure for journalists to operate in exile,> he said.>>
Read more here:
And also read the by Al Jazeera written related articles with links to
it on the same page :
‘Death knell’: Afghan journalists fear new Taliban media rules
‘Why are you out?’: Afghan women journalists recall Taliban sweep
And read also:
Pakistan eases travel restrictions, announces aid for Afghanistan
Pakistan to provide over $28m in immediate humanitarian aid and ease
travel and trade restrictions at its land borders.
and why you should read? It might create a getaway for (female)
journalists and women in danger.
20 Oct 2021
<<Russia hosts Taliban, calls for inclusive Afghan government.
Moscow welcomes the Taliban for international talks on Afghanistan but
stops short of officially recognising the group.
Russia has called on the Taliban to form a government that includes all
ethnic groups and political forces in Afghanistan, as the group attended
round of talks in Moscow.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Wednesday’s conference in Moscow
that the Kremlin recognises the Taliban’s <efforts> to try and stabilise
situation in Afghanistan since taking power in mid-August. <A new
administration is in power now,> Lavrov told the gathering. <We note
their efforts to stabilise the military and political situation and set
up work of the state apparatus.>
But he urged the group to now assemble an administration <reflecting the
interests of not only all ethnic groups but all political forces> in
Afghanistan in order to achieve a stable peace in the country.
Officials from 10 countries, including China and Pakistan, are
participating in the conference. Representatives from India, Iran,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are also attending.
The talks mark one of the Taliban’s most significant international
meetings since it assumed control of Afghanistan and underline Moscow’s
Lavrov said Moscow regretted the absence of the United States at the
conference. Washington earlier said it would not join this round of
talks due to technical reasons but planned to attend future discussions.
The Taliban delegation was headed by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam
Hanafi, a senior figure in the new Afghan leadership who led talks with
the European Union and the US last week. Abdul said the meeting was
<very important for the stability of the entire region.>
No recognition ‘for now’
The talks come after Moscow said on Tuesday that Russia, China and
Pakistan are willing to provide aid to Afghanistan, which is now facing
a looming humanitarian and economic crisis.
Lavrov said that Russia would soon send humanitarian aid and demanded
the international community mobilise resources to prevent a humanitarian
disaster. Adopting a cautious approach, Moscow has also made clear it is
not yet ready to recognise the Taliban government.
Lavrov said the Kremlin was withholding recognition from the Taliban
while waiting for the group to fulfil promises made when it took power,
including on the political and ethnic inclusivity of the new government.
Critics have said the Taliban, which remains banned as a <terrorist>
organisation in Russia, is backtracking on pledges to protect the rights
of women and minorities. Observers said the group is also persecuting
its foes, having publicly ruled this out.
<Official recognition of the Taliban is not under discussion for now,>
Lavrov told reporters. <Like most of other influential countries in the
region, we are in contact with them. We are prodding them to fulfil the
promises they made when they came to power.> >>
Read more here:
19 Oct 2021
<<Afghanistan: Taliban agrees to door-to-door polio vaccine drive.
Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan are the last countries in the
world with endemic polio, an incurable and highly infectious disease.
Health workers in Afghanistan will begin a house-to-house polio
vaccination drive next month after the new Taliban government agreed to
support the campaign, the World Health Organization and the United
Nations Children’s Fund said.
<WHO and UNICEF welcome the decision by the Taliban leadership
supporting the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccination across
Afghanistan,> they said in a statement on Monday.
Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan are the last countries in the
world with endemic polio, an incurable and highly infectious disease
transmitted through sewage that can cause crippling paralysis in young
Polio has been virtually eliminated globally through a decades-long
inoculation drive. But insecurity, inaccessible terrain, mass
suspicion of outside interference have hampered mass vaccination in
Afghanistan and some areas of Pakistan.
The UN agencies noted that only one case of wild poliovirus had been
reported in Afghanistan since the start of the year, providing <an
extraordinary opportunity to eradicate polio>.
<Restarting polio vaccination now is crucial for preventing any
significant resurgence of polio within the country and mitigating the
risk of cross-border and international transmission,> they said.>>
Read more here:
Comment by Gino d'Artali: On 30 March Al Jazeera publisched an online
article with this header: <<Female polio vaccination workers shot dead
Afghanistan: (Report can be read by clicking on the below URL) Gunmen
kill three female health workers in eastern city of Jalalabad,
sources tell Reuters news agency. The killings came on the second day of
a new five-day door-to-door anti-polio vaccination drive launched in
Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan on Monday to vaccinate millions of
children despite the risks posed by the coronavirus.
In Afghanistan, the campaign intends to inoculate about 9.6 million
children in 32 out of the country’s 34 provinces, a health official
In the second anti-polio vaccination campaign this year, more than
55,000 workers would implement the vaccination for five days, according
Afghan Health Ministry’s polio coordinator, Mir Jan Rasikh.
However, there remains a big stumbling block in the Afghan polio drive.
The Taliban, like in previous years, would not allow the home-to-home
campaign in areas under their control.
According to Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, the group is still in
talks with the World Health Organization or WHO to reach an agreement
about the programme in which workers go from door to door to carry out
In areas under Taliban control, the process is delayed because of
security reasons, according to Mujahid.>>
Read more here:
And another comment by Gino d'Artali: when the taliban took over the
power and control of Afghanistan they still cannot guarantee sicurity.
And as an objective journalist I think they're just after more money
from the WHO and UNICEF to use for their own means.
I'm sure this will get a follow up.
18 Oct 2021
<<Taliban says Afghan girls will return to secondary schools soon.
Spokesman for interior ministry tells Al Jazeera that all schools and
universities in Afghanistan will reopen ‘in a very short time’.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior Affairs has said girls will be
allowed to return to secondary schools soon. Saeed Khosty, a spokesman
for the interior ministry, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that the exact
timing will be announced by the Ministry of Education.
<From my understanding and information, in a very short time all the
universities and schools will be reopened and all the girls and women
will return to school and their teaching jobs,> he said.
Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, teenage girls were told
to stay home from school until a <safe learning environment> could be
established. But boys in all grades and girls of primary age were told
to return to school.
The exclusion of older girls has aggravated fears that the Taliban could
be returning to their hardline rule of the 1990s, when women and girls
were legally barred from education and employment.
Khosti <indicated that it was imminent that girls in secondary schools
and their female teachers would be returning very soon,> said Al
Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Kabul.
<This is something that we’ve been hearing from the Taliban since they
took power. Yes, they’re going to return. But it’s going to take time.
And of course, that’s taking a toll on a lot of the girls,> she said.
<They want to go back to school, they want to continue their studies.
This is also one of the demands of the international community for the
Taliban to protect and safeguard the rights of girls and women to go to
school and to work.>
When the Taliban took power in August, the armed group promised to
uphold the rights of girls and women. But its actions since have worried
international community. It has sent mixed signals about women returning
to work in government offices and has forced universities to enact
policies of gender segregation in order to reopen. It also named an
all-male cabinet, saying women could be included later.
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, earlier
this month condemned the Taliban’s <broken> promises to Afghan women and
girls, and appealed to the group to fulfil their obligations under
international human rights and humanitarian law.
<Broken promises leads to broken dreams for the women and girls of
Afghanistan,” the UN chief said. “Women and girls need to be in the
centre of attention.>
The Taliban’s rollback of women’s rights has also prompted criticism
from Qatar and Pakistan, which have called on the international
engage with the Taliban.
At a news conference last month, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed
bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said it <has been very disappointing to see
some steps being taken backwards> by the Taliban.>>
Read more here:
Comment by Gino d'Artali: Indeed I since the beginning of August 2021
and the taliban taking over power their 'governing' is glued together by
outspoken lying promises.
Also read the related article as mentioned below.
By Maziar Motamedi
<<Iran to host multilateral conference on Afghanistan on October 27.
FMs of Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and
Russia to hold talks in Tehran.
Tehran, Iran – Tehran will host a meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbours
plus Russia next week, the country’s foreign ministry has confirmed,
with the October 27 event witnessing the presence of all six foreign
ministers. During a press conference on Monday, Iran’s foreign ministry
spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh announced that in addition to Iran and
Russia, the meeting will be attended by China, Pakistan, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, who all have land borders with Afghanistan. According to
Khatibzadeh, the meeting will continue discussions that the countries
during a virtual meeting held in early September.
<The six countries will be focused on how they can help form an
inclusive government in Afghanistan with the presence of all ethnic
groups, and how they can help shape a future of peace and security in
Afghanistan,> said Khatibzadeh.
Since the Taliban took control of Kabul in mid-August, there has been a
debate in Iran on whether the group has changed its ways since it was in
power more than 20 years ago. But Iran’s official position is that it
wants an inclusive government and stability in its eastern neighbouring
something Tehran considers vital for its national security.
The calls have continued after the Taliban formed an administration that
does not include ethnic and religious groups or women.
Iran has also harshly condemned the Taliban’s armed assault against
resistance fighters in the Panjshir valley, and a series of explosions
claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) armed
group that have rocked Afghanistan in recent weeks.
Khatibzadeh said Iran has maintained contact with all parties in
Afghanistan, including the Taliban.
<What is clear is that Taliban has a direct responsibility in
maintaining peace and stability, and to preserve the health of all
Afghan groups including the Hazaras and Shias,> he said. Earlier this
year, Tehran hosted intra-Afghan talks that included the Taliban before
the armed group took control of Afghanistan.
Iran has, however, refused to participate in any talks hosted or
participated by the United States, which it says was a main cause of
instability and violence in the country.>>
Read more here:
Comment by Gino d'Artali: That the above mentioned countries except
Afghanistan in my opinion want this conference not, as they say, because
they want an inclusive government incl. women on excutive post but
moreso because of their geographical interest. An instable goverment
i.e. country means unstable borders. Also, non of the Western countries
accepts an Afghanistan ruled and 'governed' by the taliban.
By Priyanka Shankar
15 Oct 2021
<<Brussels, Belgium – It has been two months since Kabul fell to the
Taliban and thousands are still trying to flee Afghanistan, in search of
refuge.The United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, recently warned that
by the end of 2021, the humanitarian crisis could displace half a
million more Afghans as it called on countries to keep their borders
But for European Union members, this warning brought flashbacks of the
2015 migration crisis, delaying a unified response on Afghan asylum.
<Back then, the EU was caught completely by surprise by the arrival of
so many refugees,> Jeff Crisp, research associate at the University of
Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre and associate fellow at Chatham House,
told Al Jazeera. <Now with the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan, the
priority of the EU is to prevent a repeat of that scenario.>
With the ghosts of the past influencing current migration decisions,
European Commissioner Margaritis Schinas, who has been coordinating the
bloc’s work on a migration and asylum pact, recently revealed a new
report highlighting the EU’s plan to initiate a <regional political
platform of cooperation with Afghanistan’s direct neighbours>, to handle
the migration crisis.
<If we have learnt anything in recent years, it should be that flying
solo on these issues is not an option,> Schinas told reporters in
According to Crisp, the thrust of Europe’s asylum policy has always been
to externalise the management of refugees.
<The support the EU has provided the Libyan coastguard and countries
like Turkey to limit the number of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea
reach European borders in the past, is something some EU leaders might
argue has been beneficial for migration management. But it is in fact
extremely expensive and undermines basic human rights principles,> he
At the height of the refugee crisis in 2015-2016, the EU struck a deal
with Turkey in 2016, under which the union allocated six billion euros
($6.96bn), paid in two instalments, to Turkey, for Ankara to stop Syrian
migrants from crossing into European borders.
Similar cooperation is once again in the works.
<We discussed challenges resulting from the situation in Afghanistan and
other areas of concern – challenges that can only be solved by working
together,> tweeted Ylva Johansson, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs,
after her recent visit to Ankara.
Catherine Woollard, director of the European Council on Refugees and
Exiles (ECRE), argues that continuing externalisation in this manner, is
a flaw in the EU’s migration strategy.
<We have to go beyond the money. As a part of the EU-Turkey deal of
2016, Turkey was able to construct barriers at its border with Syria and
prevent Syrians from leaving. This also gave Turkey the power to do what
it wants in Syria without opposition or reaction from EU countries.
So while EU money and security is given in exchange for migration
controls, such an externalisation strategy gives leverage to countries
that are also playing a role in generating the displacement of people,
she said > >>
Read more hear:
Note from Gino d'Artali: it was only a few years after the EU made this
deal with Turkey that I worked in a refugee camp in the Netherlands and
one thing became very clear to me: the EU was more than happy if they
with this deal could get rid of the refugees. At that time most of them
came from Bosnia Herzegowina, Iran and indeed also Afghanistan. I,
together with the refugees and the children I was working with, felt
thrown in a pithole of betrayal and inhumanity!
15 Oct 2021
<<Afghan footballers and their families flown to Qatar.
Qatar, in coordination with FIFA, has evacuated almost 100 members of
the football family from Afghanistan, including many female players,
following complex negotiations.
Qatar, in coordination with FIFA, has evacuated almost 100 footballers
and their families from Afghanistan, officials in Doha confirmed.
The group was flown from Kabul to Doha on a flight that carried 357
passengers on Thursday, among them many women athletes involved in
football in Afghanistan. It was Qatar’s eighth and largest passenger
evacuation flight from Kabul since the Taliban regained control of
Afghanistan in late August.
Upon arriving in Qatar, the passengers were transported to a compound
facility currently hosting other Afghan civilians and evacuees in the
west of Doha.
FIFA confirmed it played a role in evacuating the athletes and their
families <following complex negotiations> and <with the support of
Football’s ruling body said the footballers were <deemed to have been at
the highest risk> before being flown to the Qatari capital.
Many female footballers had gone into hiding since the Taliban regained
power in August, and a group of junior players managed to flee to
Pakistan, and have now been given visas to go to Britain. Women were not
allowed to participate in sport during the Taliban’s first reign that
lasted until 2001.
<The FIFA leadership has been closely coordinating with the government
of Qatar since August on the evacuation of the group, and will continue
to work closely on the safe evacuation of further members of the
sporting family in the future,> FIFA said.
<FIFA would like to express its sincere thanks to the government of
Qatar for its support facilitating extensive discussions and for
ensuring the safe passage of these individuals,> the football federation
Qatar’s Government Communications Office said the group of evacuees
would have access to COVID-19 testing and would remain in Doha until
departing to their final destination.
<The State of Qatar will continue to work with international partners on
efforts that ensure freedom of movement in Afghanistan, including
through serving as an active mediator between various parties,> the GCO
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES>>
13 Oct 2021
Ban? No ban? Afghan cricket chief offers hope to women athletes.
Al Jazeera speaks to Afghanistan’s cricket chief on the future of female
athletes in the country after the Taliban takeover.
Sport in Afghanistan faced an uncertain future following the Taliban’s
takeover of the country in August this year. Hundreds of athletes,
female athletes, went into hiding or were evacuated from the country for
fear of reprisal or being shunned by the new Taliban government.
Those outside the country feared the worst, having seen a complete ban
on women’s sport when the armed group controlled Afghanistan from 1996
until the US-led invasion in 2001. A high-ranking Taliban official was
recently quoted as saying that women will be banned from sport in the
(although officials later claimed the statement was not translated
accurately from Pushto).
However, while the Taliban has spoken of inclusivity in the government,
a moderate attitude towards women and a promise to continue sporting
activities, current and former players remain sceptical and unsure of
what the future may hold. Some women have said they are fighting a
battle to remain visible under the Taliban.
Al Jazeera spoke to the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s recently appointed
Chairman Azizullah Fazli on the security situation, preparations for the
World Cup and the future of women’s cricket in the country.
Al Jazeera: There have been a lot of concerns around the future of
women’s sport, female athletes and the women’s cricket team. Has there
been any directive from the Taliban government on what may happen?
Azizullah Fazli: We have spoken to the top Taliban government officials
and their stance is that there is officially no ban on women’s sport,
especially women’s cricket. They have no problem with women taking part
in sport. We’ve not been asked to stop women from playing cricket. We’ve
had a women’s team for 18 years, although it wasn’t a major team, we’re
not on that level yet.
But what we need to keep in mind is our religion and culture. If women
adhere to that [attire] there is no problem in them taking part in
activities. Islam doesn’t allow women to wear shorts like the other
teams do while playing football especially. That’s something we need to
keep in mind.
A Taliban official also recently said sport and politics will be kept
separate and those who understand the game and are technically
well-versed will be appointed into relevant positions. The government
has told us it will support us in any way needed.
Al Jazeera: The last couple of months have seen drastic changes in the
political landscape in the country. How has sport been affected,
preparations for the cricket T20 World Cup?
Fazli: In sport, we’ve had no problems. We have been training and
playing matches in the last two months, even after the Taliban
government took over. They said they support cricket and are fully
behind the development of the game. I’m a former cricketer and been
involved with the cricket board for almost 15 years. I was chairman in
2018-2019 and when I was recently brought back, they assured me that
there will be no political interference in cricket and sport.
Al Jazeera: But has the situation and the fall of the previous
government changed anything?
Fazli: The situation in Afghanistan is great. There is peace, no
fighting apart from isolated instances [such as a recent Kunduz attack
than 50 people died in a mosque bomb attack]. These isolated instances
happen all over the world. In the months prior to the Taliban takeover,
we had hundreds killed daily. Now there is no war, no fighting. The
security situation is great and the future is bright from Afghanistan
Read more here:
Comment from Gino d'Artali: Let's wait and see. The most important
remains that women can lead a safe life and girls/women can continue
13 Oct 2021
Ali M Latifi
<<Afghanistan’s girls lament continued closure of high schools.
Afghan girls, who have been confined to their homes, urge the Taliban
not to snatch their right to education.
Kabul, Afghanistan – Kabul resident Rahela Nussrat, 17, is in her final
year of high school, but she has not been able to attend classes. The
Afghanistan’s new rulers have decided to keep teenage girls out of
school for now. Last month, the Taliban announced schools would be
opening, but only boys of all ages were asked to return to school,
leaving out secondary school girls. The move has raised questions about
the group’s policy about women’s education.
The Taliban said <a safe learning environment> was needed before older
girls could return to school, adding that schools will reopen as <soon
possible>, without giving a timeframe.
<Education is one of the most fundamental human rights, but today, that
basic right has been taken from me and millions of other Afghan girls,>
Nussrat told Al Jazeera. Afghanistan had struggled to get girls back
into school during the Western-backed government of President Ashraf
According to a 2015 survey (PDF) prepared for UNESCO by the World
Education Forum, nearly 50 percent of Afghan schools lacked usable
More than 2.2 million Afghan girls were unable to attend school as
recently as last year – 60 percent of the total children out-of-school
in the country.
The Taliban’s lack of clarity on the reopening of secondary schools has
compounded the problem and is a blow to millions of girls, especially
whose families thought the end of the war could return to some semblance
of normal life.
<When the Afghan government fell, I lost my right to education, this was
the first time I cried specifically because of my gender,> Nussrat said.
She said she still does not understand the reasoning for only keeping
teenage girls from education, but she is certain that if it continues,
it will only backfire on the Taliban. <They kept saying they want young
people to stay and use their talents, but they’re just driving us all
out,> Nussrat said by phone from her Kabul home.
Thousands of young Afghans fled the country after the Taliban returned
to power on August 15, 20 years after it was removed from power in a
US-led military invasion.
Nussrat viewed herself as an example, saying she is currently preparing
for English-language exams so she can apply for study abroad
opportunities.As someone who managed to come from one of the nation’s
poorest provinces, Daikundi, where even boys drop out of school as
teenagers to start working as day labourers, Nussrat said the Taliban is
losing out on entire generations of driven, determined young people.>>
Read more here:
By John Psaropoulos
8 Oct 2021
<<Afghan MPs, in exile, pledge to work for women’s rights.
Female legislators forced to flee following the Taliban’s takeover
arrive in Greece as they plan to relocate to the West.
Athens, Greece – When Taliban fighters ransacked Shagufa Noorzai’s home
on August 29, she was not there.
The member of parliament from Helmand province had gone into hiding
following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on August 15, as US and NATO
troops were withdrawing from the country after 20 years of war.
<I was in a windowless room for 15 days,> she told Al Jazeera. <Even my
family didn’t know where I was … The Taliban told my father, ‘tell her
come out of hiding and we will work with her’.>
Homa Ahmadi, who represented Logar province in parliament three times,
said <They [the Taliban] are going to kill people who were working in
government and they will do it quietly.> <They break into people’s homes
to show people that they have no rights, and to create fear that they
can take whatever they want.> A day after retaking Afghanistan, the
Taliban announced a <general amnesty> for government workers, but
reports have emerged of Taliban fighters killing members of ethnic
Hazara men and torturing journalists. However, top Taliban leadership
has reiterated that they will not target their opponents. Noorzai and
Ahmadi are among more than a dozen female MPs and their families who
have arrived in Athens, the Greek capital, after being evacuated from
Afghanistan in the past several weeks with the help of two
non-governmental organisations, Melissa Network and Human Rights 360.
The two groups worked with international organisations and individuals
to extricate the families, and many more are en route. <We created a
list of 150 women of influence who were mostly on death lists, who were
facing tremendous risks and were willing to take any risk in the process
of accessing the airport or exiting the country,> says Melissa
co-founder Nadina Christopoulou. <What they kept telling us before the
withdrawal of US troops was [that] going back home means facing certain
Greek diplomatic sources put the figure of evacuees at 177 so far, which
includes female lawyers and judges arriving by chartered flight this
An emotional reunion
Melissa works on integration, empowerment and advocacy, offering
informal education programmes and counselling to migrant and refugee
based in Greece. Al Jazeera met the Afghans, who had arrived at
different times, at an emotional reunion in Athens, where a traditional
Afghan lunch was offered.While grateful for Melissa’s hospitality, the
women, many of them teachers and academics, lamented that this year was
the first Afghan national education day (October 5) in 20 years when no
girls were allowed in high schools.
Last month schools reopened but the resumption of classes for teenage
girls was delayed – though boys in similar age-group have been allowed
to attend schools, raising questions over the Afghan group’s commitment
to women’s education.>>
Read more here:
Contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.
12 Oct 2021
<<Afghans are the next victims of Italy’s war on refugees.
Italy has been hit by a new wave of xenophobic upheaval.
Time for a quick quiz: Who, in the end, is the biggest victim of the
whole Afghan crisis? If you answered <Italy>, you’d be correct – at
least in the
view of the Italian right wing. Consider, for starters, a recent article
in the Italian newspaper Il Tempo, which warns that the Taliban’s
reconquest of Afghanistan will unleash an <unprecedented wave of
migrants> – a veritable <migratory tsunami> – that will soon inundate
Italy with millions of Afghans. According to the article’s author,
Afghan men often struggle to integrate into European society, and have
already <committed hundreds of sexual aggressions against European women>
– something European men obviously never do.
The bottom line, we are told, is that the right to asylum must not
continue to be a <Trojan horse for mass immigration[,] Islamism – and in
Other Italian media, too, have been hit by the wave of renewed
xenophobic upheaval – an unsurprising state of affairs in a country
where four-time prime minister and billionaire media tycoon Silvio
Berlusconi once complained that Milan looked too much like Africa.
Lest the moral of the story go unappreciated, he spelled it out: <Some
people want a multicoloured and multiethnic society. We do not share
opinion.> Then there was that time in 2015 that the Il Giornale
newspaper – presided over by Berlusconi’s brother Paolo – published a
blog post by Nino Spirlì, titled <Italy IS NOT an Islamic country>.
Spirlì, who has since become acting president of the southern Italian
region of Calabria,
contended that invading migrant hordes were endeavouring to take over
Italy and expel Italians from the land, thereby replicating events of a
millennium ago <when the Moors landed … on my shores to rape and kill>.
Sending migrants back to their own countries was thus <not a sin> but
rather a <sacrosanct> duty.
Indeed, any good Orientalist rant requires situating Arab/Muslim
antagonists in an ancient, barbaric past. Never mind more recent
invasions – like,
say, Italy’s imperialist and colonialist manoeuvres in Africa that
helped set the stage for current migration patterns in the first place.
In The Addis Ababa Massacre: Italy’s National Shame, for example,
scholar Ian Campbell notes that a “policy of terror” underpinned the
military occupation of Ethiopia, which lasted from 1936-41. During a
mere three days in February 1937, Campbell estimates, approximately
percent of the Ethiopian population of Addis Ababa was slaughtered by
Italian militants and civilians.
Fast forward to the mass carnage inflicted under the pretext of the
United States’s so-called <war on terror> – which has relied on Italian
support in Afghanistan and elsewhere – and the portrayal of Italy as the
ultimate victim of the refugee <tsunami> becomes even less endearing.
Spirlì, it bears mentioning, belongs to the League, a far-right
political party headed by former Italian interior minister and deputy
Matteo Salvini, who in 2018 declared that Italy was <under attack> by
Muslims, adding: <Our culture, society, traditions and way of life are
Salvini, who is also known for closing Italian ports to migrant rescue
vessels and pledging to deport half a million migrants as part of his
envisioned <mass cleaning> of the patria – to be carried out <street by
street> – credited the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci with
having foreseen the Muslim attack.>>
Read more here:
Note by Gino d'Artali: Oriana Fallaci (Italy Born 29 juni 1929 and died
15 september and was surprisingly right-wing and extremely against
However she was and still is best known for her book <The golden
notebook> which I read when I was in my mid-twenties and inspired by
feminist writers like the French feminist Simone de Bauvoir and many
international feminist writers how I became a feminist myself.
Also the in the article written of anti-Islam content surprised me a
bit. On the other hand as journalists one has to stay objective even if
sympathises with modest muslims because if not it's easy to write fake
news. And keep in mind that the article is not only about men Afghan
refugees but also female Afghan refugees.
11 Oct 2021
Note from Gino d'Artali:
I'm afraid that Rakhshanamedia, an online Afghanistani magazine, has
either been hacked or taken off cyberspace by the taliban.
Comment from Gino d'Artali: Food for thought
Daily Outlook Afghanistan.
11 Oct 2021
<<Why Regional Countries Should Join the Afghan National Consensus
Hstorically, Afghanistan has experienced different political systems
such as empire, kingdom, constitutional kingdom, communism, absolutism,
none of them unified Afghan people as the current Islamic Republic
System. In spite of criticisms against the mistakes of political
leaders, everyone including men, women, and religious scholars
unanimously support the current system. Now, the voice of consensus is
not only heard from the formal addresses, but also from the streets,
roofs of houses, and loudspeakers of mosques. The shouting Allah Akbar
from the streets of Herat and Kabul is a unique example of the oneness
of Afghan people under the flag of the Islamic republic system.
The recent voice of Allah Akbar was also the voice of people, the voice
of peace and brotherhood, not hostility. If the Taliban and their
supporters really pay value to the voice of people, the voice of peace
and brotherhood, they should join it instead of targeting it. The people
Afghanistan consider their neighbors as their brothers. They made it
clear that not to allow anyone to misuse from the soil of this country
their neighbors. In fact, the people and government of Afghanistan have
proved their goodwill towards the Taliban and their supporters, but the
recent position of regional countries in convergence with the Taliban
raised serious questions in Afghan public opinion. Now, most people of
Afghanistan ask if reaching peace is an illegitimate demand that some of
the regional countries interrupt. Are a moderate political system and a
peaceful Afghanistan against the interests of neighboring countries?
Does a peaceful Afghanistan pave the way for the presence of foreigners
or un-peaceful Afghanistan? It seems there are no logical answers other
than supporting the people of Afghanistan to reach peace or at least not
interrupt the peace process. Otherwise, they will commit an irreparable
mistake in regard to this particular issue of Afghanistan. Undoubtedly,
some of the neighboring countries may have some concerns, but they must
pursue it through legal mechanisms and legitimate ways, not through
sending guns and weapons to kill innocent civilians. For example, the
public opinion asks what does the killing of people, including women and
children, have to do with the concerns or demands of neighboring
countries? Were they a threat to you (neighboring countries)? How do the
senders of guns and weapons respond to Allah and even to their own
people? Who will be responsible for such a massacre which repeatedly
carried by their proxy fighters?
Currently, everyone knows that the government and people of Afghanistan
are under widespread and brutal attacks by the Taliban terrorists, why
do the regional countries ignore these crimes?>>
Read more here:
A Reporter at Large
The Other Afghan Women
In the countryside, the endless killing of civilians turned women
against the occupiers who claimed to be helping them.
By Anand Gopal
September 13, 2021 Issue
Late one afternoon this past August, Shakira heard banging on her front
gate. In the Sangin Valley, which is in Helmand Province, in southern
Afghanistan, women must not be seen by men who aren’t related to them,
and so her nineteen-year-old son, Ahmed, went to the gate. Outside were
two men in bandoliers and black turbans, carrying rifles. They were
members of the Taliban, who were waging an offensive to wrest the
countryside back from the Afghan National Army. One of the men warned, <If
you don’t leave immediately, everyone is going to die.>
Shakira, who is in her early forties, corralled her family: her husband,
an opium merchant, who was fast asleep, having succumbed to the
temptations of his product, and her eight children, including her oldest,
twenty-year-old Nilofar—as old as the war itself—whom Shakira called her
<deputy,> because she helped care for the younger ones. The family
crossed an old footbridge spanning a canal, then snaked their way
through reeds and irregular plots of beans and onions, past dark and
vacant houses. Their neighbors had been warned, too, and, except for
wandering chickens and orphaned cattle, the village was empty.
Shakira’s family walked for hours under a blazing sun. She started to
feel the rattle of distant thuds, and saw people streaming from
villages: men bending low beneath bundles stuffed with all that they
could not bear to leave behind, women walking as quickly as their burqas
The pounding of artillery filled the air, announcing the start of a
Taliban assault on an Afghan Army outpost. Shakira balanced her youngest
child, a two-year-old daughter, on her hip as the sky flashed and
thundered. By nightfall, they had come upon the valley’s central market.
The corrugated-iron storefronts had largely been destroyed during the
war. Shakira found a one-room shop with an intact roof, and her family
settled in for the night. For the children, she produced a set of cloth
dolls—one of a number of distractions that she’d cultivated during the
years of fleeing battle. As she held the figures in the light of a
match, the earth shook.
Around dawn, Shakira stepped outside, and saw that a few dozen families
had taken shelter in the abandoned market. It had once been the most
thriving bazaar in northern Helmand, with shopkeepers weighing saffron
and cumin on scales, carts loaded with women’s gowns, and storefronts
dedicated to selling opium. Now stray pillars jutted upward, and the air
smelled of decaying animal remains and burning plastic.
In the distance, the earth suddenly exploded in fountains of dirt.
Helicopters from the Afghan Army buzzed overhead, and the families hid
behind the shops, considering their next move. There was fighting along
the stone ramparts to the north and the riverbank to the west. To the
east was red-sand desert as far as Shakira could see. The only option
was to head south, toward the leafy city of Lashkar Gah, which remained
under the control of the Afghan government.
The journey would entail cutting through a barren plain exposed to
abandoned U.S. and British bases, where snipers nested, and crossing
potentially stuffed with explosives. A few families started off. Even if
they reached Lashkar Gah, they could not be sure what they’d find there.
Since the start of the Taliban’s blitz, Afghan Army soldiers had
surrendered in droves, begging for safe passage home. It was clear that
the Taliban would soon reach Kabul, and that the twenty years, and the
trillions of dollars, devoted to defeating them had come to nothing.
Shakira’s family stood in the desert, discussing the situation. The
gunfire sounded closer. Shakira spotted Taliban vehicles racing toward
the bazaar—and she decided to stay put.
She was weary to the bone, her nerves frayed. She would face whatever
came next, accept it like a judgment. “We’ve been running all our
lives,” she told me. <I’m not going anywhere.>>
Read more here:
9 Oct 2021
Se-Woong Koo is co-founder and publisher of Korea Expose, an online
<<How international organisations are failing Afghan women.
I have heard countless stories of Afghan women desperately reaching out
for help and hitting a wall of silence.
On August 30, just one day before the American deadline for withdrawal
from Afghanistan, I messaged Parwana (not her real name) on WhatsApp to
see how she was doing. <No help for now … but we are good so far. I can
at least move around with a proper hijab and a mahram [a male family
member as a chaperone],> she replied with a hint of resignation.
Parwana had been due to leave on a plane out of Kabul airport in the
last days of Western evacuation efforts, but a last-minute glitch
prevented her departure. Young, educated and employed by a high-profile
international organisation, she was not alone in her situation. I was
receiving hundreds of messages from Afghan women like her, all fearing
for their future and desperately seeking to escape Taliban-controlled
Since the Taliban entered Kabul on August 15, I have been leading a
volunteer initiative consisting of more than 200 members to help young
Afghan women and their families. The idea emerged after a few other
former faculty members of the Asian University for Women (AUW) in
Bangladesh, where many Afghan women have graduated, and I decided to
attempt to assist some 180 Afghan students and alumnae who wanted to
flee. Since we launched the effort, I have been in contact with other
Afghans desperate to leave as well.
Before the August 31 deadline, Western governments flew out a
significant number of Afghans and foreign nationals – more than 114,000
But even now, numerous people from various backgrounds are continuing
private efforts to evacuate more, out of frustration that the official
<West> has failed in its duty to rescue those who deserve to leave
Afghanistan. Many of the unlucky are Afghan women who write countless
emails and WhatsApp messages to Western governments and organisations
that tout how keen they are to help Afghan women. The answer, though, is
often silence. Despair reigns among the forgotten.
Typical is the situation of Farzana (she asked me not to use her last
name), who, like many Afghans, is in limbo. An employee of the large
German NGO Welthungerhilfe (WHH), she reached out to me through her
sister who knows me. Afraid for her life, Farzana said she had asked
Welthungerhilfe for evacuation in mid-August and received no update for
On September 1, I felt compelled to write an urgent message to the WHH
human resources office on her behalf and received a reply one week
later, on September 7, asking for a document that <proves [Farzana’s]
employment> at WHH, as if they had no record of who was working for them
in Afghanistan. Germany had announced on August 16 that it was
evacuating 500 Afghan employees of <NGOs like Welthungerhilfe> but
obviously WHH never got the message across to people like Farzana.
After my email request, WHH referred her to the German government for
special visa approval, but without any instruction as to how she might
reach the nearest German diplomatic mission that would stamp her
passport. Despite the grand claim by German foreign minister Heiko Maas
on August 30 that Uzbekistan will allow entry to Afghans bound for
Germany, Farzana told me the German embassy in Qatar replied to her
email on September 13 that Berlin is, in fact, still only <endeavouring
to make arrangements with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries>. She
remains in Kabul, unable to decide what to do next.
This kind of slow bureaucratic hell without end is killing many Afghans
who have had close connections to the West, not physically as the
Taliban might, but slowly with anxiety from within. They live each day
in agony as they struggle to accept the hard reality: that it might be
better to make other plans than to keep on waiting for the promised help
that never comes.
The official escape options for the remaining Afghans have been
tragically flawed, bordering on the absurd. In mid-August, both the
United Kingdom and Canada heralded resettlement schemes for Afghans to
much fanfare. John, a British volunteer with our group, however, spent a
day and a half trying to get through the UK government’s special hotline
for Afghan refugees, only to reach a pre-recorded message that the phone
number was not actually intended for Afghan refugees. One media report
about the same hotline claimed that some callers were even redirected to
a washing machine company.>>
Read more here:
8 Oct 2021
<<The past few months have been harrowing for Pakistani women
There appears to have been a surge in violence against women, but in
truth it is nothing new. It is just that we are more aware of it now and
more women are fighting back.
The last few months have been particularly harrowing for Pakistani women.
From the horrific case of 27-year-old Noor Muqaddam, who was brutally
tortured and beheaded in the nation’s capital on July 21, to that of
Ikram, a TikTok creator, who was harassed and groped on the country’s
Independence Day by more than 400 men on the grounds of one of the
country’s major national monuments, the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore – it
feels as if violence against women has reached epidemic proportions.
Many are even calling it a <femicide> to draw attention to the scale of
the problem and its systemic nature. But gender-based violence in the
country is not new. According to the 2017-2018 Pakistan Demographic and
Health Survey, 28 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had experienced
intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. This is a slight decrease
from 32 percent of the women reported to have experienced physical
violence at the hands of their partners in the 2012-2013 survey. But
given that domestic violence is an issue shrouded in secrecy and shame,
both sets of figures are likely a gross under-estimation. One suspects
that it feels like there is a surge in violence because cases are
getting more attention. Mainstream media is more attuned to the issue,
and it is also being highlighted and discussed on social media
These conversations have created heightened awareness among young women
in particular, who are becoming increasingly vocal about their rights.
The vast majority of these women belong to the educated, urban middle
and upper classes.
This is just the latest in the long history of the struggle against
gender-based violence in Pakistan.
In the past, particular cases have drawn national as well international
attention, leading to collective action by rights activists.
One such case was that of 28-year-old Samia Sarwar, whose murder was
arranged by her family in 1999. She had been seeking a divorce from her
violent husband, a decision her family did not support because it would
have <dishonoured> the family name. She was shot dead in the offices of
Hina Jilani, a well-respected Supreme Court lawyer and human rights
activist. Sarwar had been there for a pre-arranged meeting with her
mothreceive the divorce papers.
Her murder started a national conversation about honour killings.
Women’s rights activists, including Jilani and her sister Asma Jahangir,
renowned human rights lawyer and activist, highlighted it to advocate
for an end to gender-based violence.
But there were counter-protests from religious conservatives arguing
that Sarwar’s feminist lawyers had no business interfering in a question
<family honour>. To this day, the perpetrators have not been brought to
Another well-documented case is that of Mukhtaran Mai, who was
gang-raped in June 2002 by four men in Meerwala village in southern
Muzaffargarh district. Mai was raped on the orders of a village council
as <punishment> for her younger brother’s alleged illegitimate
relationship with a woman from a rival tribe.
Female education rates are gradually on the rise in Pakistan, with the
rate of female secondary education rising from 28.6 percent in 2011 to
percent in 2021. There is now a new generation of young educated women
who have the awareness and confidence to demand their rights.
Additionally, as technology and social media have become more accessible,
news of cases has started to spread more widely and at a much greater
speed. As of this year, almost 27.5 percent of the country’s population
has access to the internet, mostly through their mobile phones. While
this is much less than the global average of 60.9 percent, it is still
significant for a country of 223 million.
Despite the fact that the country only has 2.1 million Twitter users, a
relatively low percent, tweets are often featured by media outlets and
are used to further discussions.
The state has also identified social media as a possible threat to
Pakistan’s national image. Fawad Chaudhry, the country’s information
recently alleged that Indian and Afghan accounts were <falsely> creating
the impression that Pakistan is <unsafe for women>, which he argued is
part of an international conspiracy to malign the country.
With social media playing a key role in taking the conversation forward,
women also face constant threats and harassment on these channels.>>
Read more here:
8 Oct 2021
<<Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov win 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
Journalists from the Philippines and Russia hailed ‘for their efforts to
safeguard freedom of expression’.
Journalists Maria Ressa, of the Philippines, and Dmitry Muratov, of
Russia, have won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, recognised <for their
safeguard freedom of expression>, which the prize-giving committee
described as being under threat worldwide
The two were given the prestigious award <for their courageous fight for
freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia,> Berit
Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said on Friday.
<At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand
up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press
face increasingly adverse conditions,> she told a news conference in
Norway’s capital, Oslo.
The prize is the first for journalists since German Carl von Ossietzky
won it in 1935 for revealing his country’s secret post-war rearmament
<Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against
abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,> Reiss-Andersen said.
Ressa, who founded investigative journalism website Rappler, has focused
much of her work on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial
and violent war on drugs. She and Rappler <have also documented how
social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and
manipulate public discourse,> the Nobel committee noted.
<I’m a little shocked. It’s really emotional,> Ressa said after learning
of the award.
<Journalism has never been as important as it is today,> she said,
adding that journalists had <lost our gatekeeping powers to technology
platforms> and called for nations to come together to stop the rise of
She also said that despite her news website being under <the possibility
of shutdown on a daily basis> she continues striving for fact-finding
Read more here:
8 Oct 2021
<<Dozens killed in suicide blast at Afghanistan mosque.
ISIL affiliate claims responsibility for the blast at Shia mosque in
Kunduz that has killed dozens.>>
I wil no further quote from that article because...
The time they take to fight each other (taliban, isis, isis-kp and isil)
the less time they have to oppress Afghan Women!
7 Oct 2021
Ali M Latifi
<<Taliban still struggling for international recognition
Group spent the last two years courting world leaders but has found it
difficult to gain acceptance since taking power in August.
Kabul, Afghanistan – Since it took power in August, the Taliban has been
on a desperate quest to have its Islamic Emirate recognised
internationally as the official government of Afghanistan. But so far,
those attempts have yet to bear fruit.
It is not from lack of effort, though, the group’s leadership has been
busy. It has been meeting with officials from the United Nations, who
assured the Taliban last month that the body will continue its
assistance programmes in the country.
However, the UN turned down the Taliban’s request to have its chosen
envoy address the General Assembly.
The group has also met with representatives from the United Kingdom, who
pushed them on ensuring that British nationals are allowed to leave the
country. The UK also raised the issue of women’s rights in meetings with
The Taliban leadership, including figures appearing on international
terror lists, also made sure to be present when aid shipments from Qatar,
China, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Uzbekistan arrived at
Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.
But none of these nations have yet announced their formal
acknowledgement of the Taliban as the rightful rulers of the country.
That recognition is crucial, not only for the Taliban’s own legitimacy,
but also because the nation continues to struggle after the United
States, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund cut off
Kabul’s access to more than $9.5bn in loans, funding and assets.
The Taliban’s diplomatic isolation is in contrast to the last 10 years,
which saw the group making several trips across the region as part of
their peace efforts with the US administration. Since their 2011 arrival
in Doha, the Taliban had held numerous direct and indirect talks with
the representatives from different nations. Those efforts were ramped up
over the last two years, when they embarked on official trips to
Uzbekistan, Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, China and Pakistan. At the time,
these visits were dubbed as the “Taliban’s world tour,” among certain
circles in Kabul.
Today, however, even foreign capitals that once eagerly announced the
Taliban’s visits to their nations have taken a harsh, even outright
critical stance on the group.
Iran, which had long been accused of aiding and abetting the group, took
a cryptic tone when speaking of the Taliban takeover of its eastern
neighbour. At an August 28 speech, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said,
<The nature of our relations with governments depends on the nature of
their relations with us.>
When the neighbours did finally meet earlier this week, it was to
discuss the status of the Islam Qala border crossing and trade tariffs.
A former Afghan official, speaking to Al Jazeera on condition of
anonymity, said foreign governments accepting the Taliban as a rightful
government would be antithetical to diplomatic norms.
<A terrorist group has no business reassuring anybody,> the official
Read more here:
6 Oct 2021
<<‘We won’t eat tonight’: Hunger plagues Afghans in historic valley
The community is among the poorest in the country and the Taliban
takeover in August has only exacerbated their hardships.
They have long survived hand to mouth, but since the Taliban conquered
the Bamiyan valley, rural Afghans living in its mountainside caves have
been left weak from hunger and fear. Known as one of the most beautiful
regions in Afghanistan, the rugged, central valley is home to several
hundred families living in caves that were carved into sandstone cliffs
by Buddhist monks in the fifth century. The community is among the
poorest in the country and the Taliban takeover in August has only
exacerbated their hardships, with international aid cut off, food prices
rising and unemployment spiking. They live a few kilometres from where
the valley’s famous giant, ancient Buddha statues once stood, before
they were dynamited by the group when it was last in power 20 years ago.
Fatima says her cave partially collapsed during heavy rains a year and a
half ago, leaving the 55-year-old and three family members crammed into
a tiny cavern measuring just six square metres (65 square feet).
<We won’t eat tonight. And winter is almost here. We have nothing to
keep warm,> she says, her face partially covered by a black veil.
<We live in misery and misfortune.>
Daily wage labourers and porters no longer bring home the little money
they once did to settle rumbling stomachs. Only the harvesting of
potatoes has continued – the single crop that can be grown in the area
at an altitude of 2,500 metres (8,200 feet). <I go to the Bamiyan bazaar
every morning, but I come back with nothing,> says Mahram, a 42-year-old
bricklayer. <When there was work, I made 300 afghanis ($3.75) per day.>
<The farmers give them some instead of salaries,> Mahram says. <That is
all we have, with a bit of bread.>
<But in 10 days, the harvest will be over, and we will really be hungry.
People will die.> Like most people living in the region, the families
are Hazara, a mainly Shia ethnic minority that has been marginalised and
persecuted in Afghanistan for centuries.
The victory of the Taliban, made up of Sunni hardliners who see the
community as heretics, has caused panic. <It is very frightening,> says
Amena, a 40-year-old mother of five children.
<But they have not come, and will probably not come all the way up to
where we are.> Amena parts the curtain at the entrance to her cave to
reveal a platform carved into the rock topped with two cushions, a
threadbare carpet, and a rickety wood-burning stove that has covered the
ceiling with a thick layer of soot. Near the doorway lies a bundle of
potato branches, the family’s only fuel.
<Wood is too expensive,> she says.
There has never been electricity in the area, and collecting water
requires three long trips down to the river in the valley each day. The
deputy chief of the local council, 25-year-old Saifullah Aria, says the
situation is dire.
<Here, people are poor. Very poor,> he says.
<They usually make 100-200 afghanis ($1.10-2:10) a day, but for the past
six weeks, with the Taliban, they’ve made nothing.>
He says most eat just one meal a day of potato and bread.>>
Read more here:
6 Oct 2021
By Eltaf NajafizadaBloomberg
<<Afghanistan could go dark as power bills remain unpaid
Neighbouring nations supply about 78 percent of Afghanistan’s power,
they have not been paid since the Taliban took over.
Afghanistan’s state power company has appealed to a United Nations-led
mission to give $90 million to settle unpaid bills to Central Asian
suppliers before electricity gets cut off for the country given that the
three-month deadline for payments has passed. Since the Taliban took
control of Afghanistan from mid-August, electricity bills haven’t been
paid to neighboring countries that supply about 78% of its power needs.
This poses another problem for a new government that is grappling with a
cash crunch in the economy in part due to U.S. and other allies freezing
the country’s overseas reserves. Afghanistan usually pays $20 million to
$25 million a month in total to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and
Iran and now upaid bills stand at $62 million, Safiullah Ahmadzai, the
acting CEO of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, said on Wednesday. These
countries may cut the power supply <any day they want,> he added.
<We’ve asked the UNAMA in Kabul to assist the people of Afghanistan to
pay the country’s power suppliers as part of their humanitarian aid,>
Ahmadzai said by phone, referring to the United Nations Assistance
Mission in Afghanistan. He said some $90 million was requested from the
mission as the unpaid bills will jump to about $85 million in a week.
The UN mission hasn’t responded to that request yet, Ahmadzai said.
Currently, there’s no significant power cuts now in Kabul or elsewhere
in Afghanistan. Ahmadzai said just 38% of Afghanistan’s 38 million
people currently have access to electricity. The Taliban government is
looking to pay the electricity bills and has called on neighboring
countries to avoid cutting off the power supply, Bilal Karimi, a
spokesman for the group said by phone. <We have a good relationship with
them and we don’t expect them to stop providing us power,> he added.
As the Taliban swept into power in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from
Afghanistan, the state power firm had struggled to collect payment from
consumers due to the security situation and the bleak economic
Power outages are common in Afghanistan, even when the U.S.-backed
government was in power. The Taliban has been partly responsible for the
situation as they attacked transmission towers last year, causing
blackouts in Kabul.
Afghanistan needs about 1,600 megawatts of power yearly. Ahmadzai said
Afghanistan’s domestic power sources, which include hydropower plants,
solar panels and fossil fuels, meet about 22% of the country’s needs.>>
Read more here:
6 Oct 2021
By Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska
<<Afghan women’s losing battle to remain visible under Taliban
Afghan women tell Al Jazeera that they fear a return of repressive life
under Taliban rule.
Kabul, Afghanistan – Marzia Hamidi, a 19-year-old Afghan taekwondoin,
had big plans. She used to dream of national and international
championships but fears that those dreams are now dashed forever after
the Taliban took control of the country in August.
By the end of September, she had to go into hiding after she heard that
some members of the group had come looking for her.
<When the Taliban came [to power], I was thinking about destroying my
medals,> she told Al Jazeera. <Burn them or keep them? I asked myself.>
Even Marzia’s Instagram account – with more than 20,000 followers – is a
little bit darker now. She wears a black abaya and matching hijab,
fearing Afghanistan’s new rulers. She is not alone in her fears. Many
women fear a return to enforced invisibility they lived under for five
years (1996-2001) when the Taliban controlled Afghanistan last.
When the Taliban came to power, it promised to respect women and allow
them to participate in public life <in accordance with Islamic law>, but
secondary schools remain closed for girls, and many women are finding
returning to work difficult, with the exception of some professions such
as in the health sector.
Protests erupted across several cities last month, with women demanding
their rights, but they were harshly suppressed. During the first Taliban
regime, women virtually disappeared from the public eye as they were
banned from working and were not allowed to travel without a male
guardian. The violation of strict rules on women’s clothing and their
behaviour in public attracted severe punishment.
Marzia worries that women like her will soon meet a similar fate.
‘Burn them or keep them?’
Marzia was born in Iran to a family of Afghan refugees who were often
discriminated against and subjected to racist attacks.
At 15, she went to a taekwondo class and immediately fell in love with
the sport, going on to compete and earning several gold medals in the
Under 57kg category national competitions. But three years ago, Marzia’s
family decided to move to Afghanistan, her father no longer wanted to be
a refugee in a foreign land. They would join her brother, who had a
profitable business in Kabul.
For the self-confident athlete, this spelled a huge disruption of her
career. Kabul would prove to be a difficult place to practice her sport
<It’s always been hard for female fighters in Afghanistan. My male coach
always stared at me, focused on my looks, which made me uncomfortable.
Other girls in the taekwondo team always wore headscarves and complained
that I did not,> Marzia says.
When the Taliban came to power, many Afghans tried to destroy or hide
items they feared would incriminate them with the new rulers. Marzia’s
medals were her <incriminating items> and she pondered long and whether
to destroy them. <But my brother talked me out of the idea and told me
to hide them in a safe place.>
But she soon realised that the medals were not the only thing she had to
Last month, a group of unknown men came to her family home asking for
her whereabouts, likely because of her social media activity, she says.
They also visited her brother’s office. Marzia decided to go into
hiding. She now frequently changes locations and lives in constant
Read more here:
5 Oct 2021
From: The Forbidden Reel
<<The Era of Darkness.
In the 1990s, Afghan cinema enters an era of darkness as the Taliban
take control of the country.
By the mid-1990s, the Taliban had risen to power in Afghanistan.
Certain members of the group wanted to destroy the national archive.
When some Taliban decided to burn it down, the Taliban head of radio and
television took action.
He secretly warned employees at Afghan Film to hide their treasured
Amongst the Taliban of that era, there were also those who cherished the
history of their homeland.
Watch the video here:
From The Stream
<<Afghan journanists attacked.
Is press freedom dead in Afghanistan?
On Wednesday, September 29 at 19:30GMT:
A once flourishing media landscape in Afghanistan appears to be
withering as press freedoms come under fire with reports of brutal
attacks on Afghan journalists.
One of the most brazen attacks happened earlier this month as Mohammad
Ali Almadi, a reporter and editor with radio broadcaster Salam Watandar,
rode through Kabul in a taxi van. A fellow passenger asked Almadi what
he did for work and, when Almadi told the man he was a journalist, the
man pulled out a gun and opened fire, hitting Almadi twice in the leg.
In another incident, two Afghan journalists were severely beaten while
covering a women’s protest outside a police station in Kabul. The men
were reportedly dragged into separate jail cells by Taliban fighters and
flogged. Photos of the men showed large bruises and cuts across their
The Taliban has also announced a series of <journalism rules> that all
media organisations must follow and the strict guidelines have left
journalists fearful of censorship, persecution and worse.>>
Read and watch the video here:
Ali M Latifi
5 Oct 2021
<<Anxious wait for Afghan girls as opening of high schools stalled.
Millions of girls confined to their homes as Taliban continues to
prevent high school girls from returning to classroom.
Millions of teenage girls across Afghanistan are anxiously waiting to
return to the classroom, as high schools continue to remain closed,
raising fears about the future of female education under Taliban rule.
The country’s new rulers allowed boys in the same age group – seven to
12 – to attend classes last month, but said that <a safe learning
environment> was needed before older girls could return to school.
At that time, the Taliban’s Deputy Minister of Information and Culture
Zabihullah Mujahid said the group was working on a “procedure” to allow
teenage girls back into the classroom. In the Taliban’s first news
conference after taking over Afghanistan on August 15, Mujahid had
pledged to “allow women to work and study,” as it tried to allay fears
of its rule between 1996-2001 that was marked by a curb on women’s
The continued exclusion of girls from schools has only exacerbated fears
among the Afghan people that the Taliban could be returning to their
hardline rule of the 1990s. Those five years had the distinction of
being the only time in modern Afghan history where women and girls were
legally barred from education and employment. In the month and a half
since they came to power, the Taliban has told female government workers
to stay at home, announced an all-male cabinet, closed down the Ministry
of Women’s Affairs and faced accusations of harassment and abuse of
female protesters across the nation’s cities.
Toorpekai Momand, an education advocate, said the delay, coupled with
the Taliban’s actions, have led adolescent girls to contend with
dangerous questions, <Why do the Taliban have a problem with us? Why is
it our rights that are being taken?>
Momand, who has spent 10 years working as a school administrator, is
among hundreds of women in Afghanistan and abroad who are trying to
ensure that the Taliban live up to their promises to allow girls and
women back into schools and offices.
For many of these women, this struggle means dealing with what they see
as unpopular, but necessary realities of life in a Taliban-controlled
Afghanistan. Jamila Afghani, another education advocate, said that the
Afghan people are left with little but to try and engage with the
Taliban, especially as the international community has refused to
recognise the group.
I didn’t bring them. You didn’t bring them, but they’re here now, so we
have to keep pushing.>But both Afghani and Momand and dozens of others
have experienced first-hand the difficulty of trying to get answers out
of the Taliban. When their colleagues met officials from the Taliban-run
Ministry of Education, they were told that the group is working <very
hard> to adhere to conservative norms in the education of teenage girls.
Momand said the Taliban is particularly careful with its<wording, <They
never just come out and say ‘no,’ they keep saying ‘we’re working on
it,’ but we have no idea exactly what it is they’re working on.>
All of the women Al Jazeera spoke to said that in the 100 years since
the Afghan government established official schools for girls, those
institutions have always adhered to religious principles. Primary and
secondary schools were always gender-segregated and dress codes were
always in place.
Momand, in particular, said she has a hard time accepting the Taliban’s
claims of religious reasoning for the continued wait, saying, <In a
girls’ school, everyone, down to the cleaning staff, are women.>
The Taliban has also made references to a review of the curriculum,
something Afghani said could further delay the education of school
<Redoing a curriculum takes a lot of time and a very detailed
understanding of educational models,> Afghani said.
All of the sources Al Jazeera spoke to shared Afghani’s scepticism of
the Taliban’s actual understanding of the complexities of establishing
an education system for 9.5 million schoolchildren.
Last month, the group’s acting minister of education, Mawlawi Noorullah
Monir, caused a social media uproar when he said, <No PhD degree,
Master’s degree is valuable today. You see that the mullahs and Taliban
that are in the power, have no PhD, MA or even a high school degree, but
are the greatest of all.>
For some, the prospect of the Taliban trying to reform the curriculum is
Fatimah Hossaini, a well-known photographer who taught classes in the
fine arts faculty at Kabul University, said she feared for the future of
arts programmes under the Taliban. She pointed out that art was the
least funded discipline at Kabul University even under the former
government of President Ashraf Ghani.
At one time, Hossaini was the only female professor in a small faculty
that had to make do with the most basic and often out-of-date equipment.
Now, she fears what the department will look like under the Islamic
Emirate, as the Taliban refers to its government.
<They have already said there will be no music in public. They’ve been
going around Kabul covering murals. In 2001, they blew up the Buddhas of
Bamiyan, so do you think they will allow students to continue studying
sculpture?> Even if the programmes are allowed to continue, Hossaini
feared the Taliban would impose restrictions like those in neighbouring
Iran, where she studied. Art, said Hossaini, requires <freedom> to
flourish, but she feared that the Taliban would impose tight
restrictions on self-expression.
<Most of my students, especially the girls, are busy looking for ways
out,> said Hossaini, who fled to France along with tens of thousands of
Afghans fearing return of Taliban rule. Even those who have stayed are
haunted by a sense of foreboding, said Hossaini. She used one of her
graduating female students as an example. <She cannot bring herself to
go collect her diploma and transcripts. She keeps saying, ‘I don’t want
to have the stamp of the Islamic Emirate on my diploma.’> >>
Read more here:
3 Sept 2021
Associated Press in Kabul
<<Civilians killed in deadliest Kabul attack since US withdrawal.
Islamic State suspected of carrying out bombing outside mosque in Afghan
At least five civilians have been killed in a bomb blast at the entrance
to a Kabul mosque on Sunday, a Taliban official said, the deadliest
attack in the Afghan capital since US forces left at the end of August.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion fell on
Islamic State extremists, who have stepped up attacks on the Taliban in
recent weeks, particularly in the IS stronghold in eastern Afghanistan.
It is believed that a roadside bomb went off at the gate of the
sprawling Eidgah mosque in Kabul when a memorial service was being held
for the mother of the Taliban’s chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.
Five people were killed, said Qari Saeed Khosti, a spokesman for the
Three suspects were arrested, said Bilal Karimi, another Taliban
spokesman. Taliban fighters were not harmed in the attack, he said.
An Italian-funded emergency hospital in Kabul tweeted that it had
received four people wounded in the blast. The area around the mosque
was cordoned off by the Taliban, who maintained a heavy security
presence. Later in the afternoon the site was cleaned. Afterwards the
only signs of the blast was slight damage to the ornamental arch by the
The explosion underlined the growing challenges facing the Taliban just
weeks after they took control of Afghanistan in a blitz campaign,
culminating in their takeover of Kabul on 15 August.
During their 20-year insurgency, the Taliban frequently carried out
bombing and shooting attacks, but they are now faced with trying to
contain rival militants who are using the same methods. The growing
security challenges come at a time of economic meltdown, as the Taliban
struggle to run the country without the massive foreign aid given to the
US-backed government that they toppled. IS militants have stepped up
attacks against the Taliban since their mid-August takeover, signalling
a widening conflict between them. IS maintains a strong presence in the
eastern province of Nangarhar, where it has claimed responsibility for
several killings in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.
In late August an IS suicide bomber targeted American evacuation efforts
at Kabul’s international airport. The blast killed 169 Afghans and 13 US
service members, and was one of the deadliest attacks in the country in
years. Attacks in Kabul have so far been rare, but in recent weeks IS
has shown signs it is expanding its footprint beyond the east and closer
toward the capital. On Friday Taliban fighters raided an IS hideout just
north of Kabul in Parwan province. The raid came after an IS roadside
bomb wounded four Taliban fighters in the area.>>
Read more here:
Opinion by Gino d'Artali:
As I predicted it before after the taliban took over power on 15 August
2021 Afghanistan is not only heading for a 'men's only country again'
but also to a direct clash between them and Al Quaida; ISIS and ISIS-K.
2 Oct 2021
<<Qataris cast ballots in first legislative elections.
The candidates are mostly men, with nearly 30 women among the 284
hopefuls running for the 30 available council seats.
Qataris have begun voting in the country’s first legislative elections
for two-thirds of the advisory Shura Council, in a vote that has stirred
domestic debate about electoral inclusion and citizenship. Voters began
trickling into polling stations on Saturday, where men and women entered
separate sections to elect 30 members of the 45-seat body. The ruling
emir will continue to appoint the remaining 15 members of the council.
Polls opened at 05:00 GMT and will close at 15:00 GMT, with the results
expected the same day. The council will enjoy legislative authority and
approve general state policies and the budget, but has no control over
executive bodies setting defence, security, economic and investment
policy for the small but wealthy gas producer, which bans political
parties. Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from a voting station
in the capital, Doha, soon after polls opened, said the elections were
seen as a major step in the modernisation of the governing system.
<What we’ve seen so far … is quite an active presence of voters,> he
said. There is excitement among nationals who are able to vote in these
elections. The [Shura Council] body has been mainly a consultative one
over the past few decades but there has been a push within Qatar to
share responsibility, to widen participation, to develop the
relationship between the citizen and the state,> he added.
<Through that came the idea or the push to make this body one that
people are able to stand in, vote in and to give more powers. This is
akin to other countries’ parliament in that it can draft laws, can
question and even sack ministers.>
A voting ‘experiment’
Qatar’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin
Abdulrahman Al Thani, last month described the vote as a new
<experiment> and said the council cannot be expected from the first year
to have the <full role of any parliament>.
All candidates had to be approved by the powerful interior ministry
against a host of criteria, including age, character and criminal
history. They have uniformly avoided debate about Qatar’s foreign policy
or status as a monarchy, instead focusing on social issues including
healthcare, education and citizenship rights. The candidates are mostly
men, with nearly 30 women among the 284 hopefuls running for the 30
available council seats.
Campaigning has taken place on social media, community meetings and
<This is a first-time experience for me … to be here and meet people
talking about these things that we need,> said Khalid Almutawah, a
candidate in the Markhiya district. <In the end, we want to promote our
society and we try our best to help our people and our government.>
Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, also reporting from a polling station in
Doha, said female voters expressed their happiness at being able to take
part in such a historic process.
<It’s very important for them to have their voices heard, Jabbari said.
They believe that any kind of future in this country has to include
women as part of that vision to be able to make decisions, and to take
part in a government that will have an impact on their daily lives.>
<Some of the issues that the candidates have said they will address if
elected has to do with women’s rights as well as [amplifying] their
voices within the different sectors in the country, she added.>>
Read more here:
Women report Afghanistan is supported by
Amie Ferris-Rotman and Zahra Nader
Fri 1 Oct 2021
<<Women report Afghanistan
‘I don’t know where to go’: uncertain fate of the women in Kabul’s
Women in refuges have been sent home to their abusers or to prison since
the Taliban takeover. Those in the few shelters still open fear what
lies ahead. Zari was seven years old when her parents died, forcing her
to move in with her uncle. But when he died four years later, his two
widows beat Zari and forced her to work long hours weaving carpets.
During her teenage years, Zari tried to kill herself.
After her suicide attempt, Zari, now 28, moved into a shelter for abused
women. For the past eight years she has held on to the belief that
things would get better. She made friends and learned to sew clothes,
eventually teaching others to do the same. But with the Taliban now in
control of Afghanistan, she risks losing everything all over again.
Shortly after the hardline group swept to power in mid-August, ending
the American-led war, the small shelter sent several of its residents
home. Zari and four other women who also have no family are the only
Overnight, the unmarked building tucked away in the Afghan capital went
from her sanctuary to a place of danger. <The (staff) curse us, they
tell us, ‘Your life is in your own hands. You can go anywhere you want.’
I am scared. I don’t know where to go,> said Zari, who spoke to the
Guardian on the condition that we didn’t use her real name.
The shelter is one of nearly 30 such facilities in Afghanistan. Built up
over the past 20 years, they operated as a discreet and often hidden
part of the
international community’s commitment to advancing the rights of Afghan
women. Most of the women’s cases were resolved within months, but some
spent years at the shelter, learning new skills so they could
reintegrate into society.
Over the past six weeks, this crucial lifeline has all but disappeared.
Most of the shelters have closed their doors at the request of the
Taliban, meaning women have either been sent home, often back to their
abusers, or moved to secret locations. For those still operating, such
as Zari’s, the future is uncertain. Of the three shelter directors who
spoke to the Guardian, none are taking in new women.
The fate of the shelters symbolises the struggle for gender equality and
the capacity to tackle violence against women in Taliban-controlled
Afghanistan. The Islamist group has closed the women’s affairs ministry,
replacing it with the headquarters for its “morality police”, created an
all-male government and banned girls from attending secondary school.
Human Rights Watch has documented Taliban abuses against women since
they took over, including seeking out high-profile women, compulsory
dress codes and denying freedom of movement outside their homes.
Mahbooba Seraj, a veteran women’s rights activist and manager of a
shelter for 30 women in Kabul, says the Taliban are still figuring out
what to do about women’s refuges. <They’re afraid that women in the
shelters will leave, and end up on the streets and enter prostitution,
which is very possible,> she says by phone from Kabul. <And they do not
Two weeks ago, 15 Taliban police officers , including secret police,
visited Seraj’s shelter over several days, noting residents’ names and
snooping around. The women wore veils so they could not be identified,
Seraj said. Seraj told the Taliban that their visit was exceptional – a
man had never crossed her shelter’s threshold before. <They looked at me
as if they didn’t believe me. And one policeman asked, ‘Even the
Americans?’ I laughed and said, ‘Neither American nor Afghan. Period.’
Why they thought Americans visited is beyond me.>
Now Seraj, the 73-year-old founder of the Afghan Women’s Network, an
umbrella rights group, wants to know what the Taliban are planning for
abused women. Even before the group seized power, Afghanistan regularly
topped the list of countries with the poorest protections for women.
<The problems of the women of Afghanistan are the same as they were
before the Taliban came to power. Women are still being abused, still
have abusive families and are still drug addicts.> Despite a landmark
2009 law on the elimination of violence against women, more than half of
all Afghan women reported physical abuse and of those who were married,
59% were in forced unions, according to government studies.
The past 20 years have proved how invaluable protection services are for
Afghan society, said Kevin Schumacher, deputy executive director at
Women for Afghan Women, a Washington-based nonprofit that manages the
largest network of shelters in the country. >Next time there’s a gross
violation of human rights … and the victim happens to be a woman, where
is she going to go? Society does not function based on our ideological
views. If the Taliban want to run a country, they need to have answers
for these very real social needs.> >>
Read more here:
29 Sept 2021
<<In Kabul, life changing slowly under Taliban.
Noisy traffic returns to Afghan city’s streets and men can be seen
playing cricket but there are subtle changes under way.
Some things that remain the same: Traffic is back to a noisy, congested
snarl. The young men still play cricket and watch traditional wrestling
matches in the city’s Chaman-e-Hozori Park. Under their previous rule,
the Taliban banned many sports, but so far have not done so this time.
Many women seemed to stay off the streets in the days after the August
15 takeover, but in the weeks since, more and more are appearing back in
public, some in longer coats and headscarves, some in the all-covering
burqa, which has been worn traditionally by many in Afghanistan
regardless of the Taliban. One woman on a recent day passed a row of
beauty salons, where some advertisements on the windows had been defaced
or covered to scratch out images of women, but some of the ads were
untouched. It is emblematic of the in-between place where Kabul resides
for the moment. Will the hardline Taliban impose the harsh restrictions
it did when it ruled in the 1990s, or will there be some margins of
Photos of all living things, even animals, were banned under their
previous rule. So far that has not happened, but it is still unknown how
far the Taliban themselves have decided to go.
Women are already feeling restrictions. Female employees in the Kabul
city government have mostly been told to stay home, and high school
girls have not been allowed back to class.
One subtler visual change: Fewer men are seen wearing Western dress.
Government employees were the ones who most often wore Western-style
clothes, and they have now switched over to the traditional
shalwar-kameez combination of long shirt and baggy pants.
The most obvious change is the presence of the Taliban members
themselves. Taliban fighters directing traffic or manning the many
checkpoints have largely put on blue camouflage uniforms, giving them a
more official air. But many other fighters wear the shalwar kameez. Most
have never been to Kabul in their lives. On one evening, fighters sat
guarding a building where Taliban members are being housed. Behind them
on the blast walls, an old mural depicted a woman behind barbed wire,
originally painted to comment on the harshness of war. On another day, a
group of Taliban fighters, cradling their automatic weapons, enjoyed a
day boating on a lake near Kabul, talking about how strange life was for
them in this city.
Other signs show the growing economic desperation. The economy was
already deteriorating before the Taliban came, with more than 55 percent
of people living below the poverty level. Now after the takeover, it is
crumbling fast, with the United Nations warning 97 percent could be
below the poverty level by the end of the year. Makeshift markets have
appeared everywhere, stocked with furniture and household goods as
people sell off what they can. At one, women picked around rugs for
sale. Another on the fringes of Chaman-e-Hozori Park was poorer, with
old men peddling piles of old clothes. Districts with upscale
restaurants and shops are emptier. Everyone talks of leaving the
At a camp of internally displaced people, food donations are
distributed. Soot-covered men working at a brick factory say they are
still producing, but fewer people are buying. As men line up for prayers
on Friday, a little girl sits in front them, hoping to make some money
As night fell, a woman crossed the street holding the hands of a little
girl and boy, the lights of Kabul dotting across the hills behind them.
Read and see photographs here:
28 Sept 2021
<<From: The Stream
Is Afghanistan being left to go hungry?
How to feed Afghanistan?
An estimated 14 million people in Afghanistan, a staggering one-third of
the population, are facing food insecurity, according to the UN World
Food Programme (WFP). The figure includes two million children who are
The situation has become a perfect storm – years of drought, conflict
and economic deterioration, compounded by COVID-19. UN Secretary-General
Antonio Guterres has said the country is on “the verge of a dramatic
humanitarian disaster.” The price of wheat has gone up by 25 percent
since the Taliban took control of the country in August and the WFP says
its food stocks will run out by the end of September.
Last week, some US sanctions on the Taliban were lifted to allow free
movement of aid. But is that enough? In this segment, we’ll look at the
situation and ask what Afghans need most as winter nears.>>
Read more here: