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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.>
AFGHANISTAN WOMEN'S RESISTENCE Part 5
<Eliminating women means eliminating human beings!> One slogan of
Afghanistans Resistence Women's Slogans.
13 Nov 2021
All seems quiet on the Afghanistan's front but
don't be fooled. As I reported before not only the taliban
is continuing (again just like when they had the power over Afghanistan
before) to suppress the
women but they are fighting back in watever way they can but also the
taliban has to deal almost
day by day now to literally battle with the ISIS, ISIS-K, Al Qaida and
other armed contra-forces.
Now, I don't want to report about that! My goal i.e. aim is to support
AFGHANISTAN WOMEN'S RESISTENCE.
By Arwa Ibrahim
Nov 29 2021
<<Are US-led sanctions worsening Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis?
Aid groups, experts say international sanctions on the Taliban have led
to the collapse of the aid-dependent economy.
International aid organisations and experts say the US-led sanctions on
the Taliban government are hurting the Afghan people, and called for
“explicit humanitarian exemptions” for the delivery of aid to prevent a
<catastrophe>. Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan on August
15, the aid-dependent country was cut off from international financial
institutions, while nearly $10bn of its assets were frozen by the US,
triggering a banking crisis. Millions of dollars in international aid
were also halted due to the sanctions.
The UN and other aid agencies have been trying to navigate the sanctions
to deliver much-needed aid to the country, with more than half of
Afghanistan’s 38 million population facing imminent food shortages in
the harsh winter months.
<The US government, and other sanctions imposing entities like the UN
Security Council (UNSC), should do all they can to ensure that Afghans
have access to the humanitarian assistance to which they are entitled,>
said Eileen McCarthy, the Advocacy Manager at the Norwegian Refugee
<They should ensure sanctions and other restrictive measures comply with
international humanitarian and human rights law and do not impede
impartial humanitarian activities,> she told Al Jazeera.
‘Humanitarian catastrophe preventable’
More than 100 days into the Taliban’s rule, Afghanistan’s economy has
nearly collapsed, for which the UN envoy for Afghanistan blamed on the
financial sanctions. Deborah Lyons told the UNSC last week that the <humanitarian
catastrophe> in the country was <preventable>.
There have been alarming reports of public hospitals unable to afford
essential medical supplies or to pay staff salaries, and families
offering their young daughters for marriage in return for a brideprice
to help them survive.>>
Read more here:
By Farah Najjar
25 Nov 2021
<<Afghan women speak up against new Taliban media guidelines.
Journalists say the latest media ‘guideline’ is yet another form of
control over women, as they vow to continue their work.
Afghan journalists and activists have expressed concern over a new
<religious guideline> issued by Taliban rulers, saying the move is yet
another form of control over women. The Taliban, which took over
Afghanistan roughly 100 days ago, on Sunday urged female journalists to
follow a dress code and called on TV stations to stop showing soap
operas featuring women, sparking fears over women’s rights and media
Akif Muhajir, spokesman for the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and
Prevention of Vice, said <these are not rules but a religious
However, activists fear it could be misused to harass female
journalists, many of whom have already fled the country in the wake of
the Taliban’s takeover on August 15.
The Taliban has been accused of backing down on its pledge to protect
women’s rights and media freedom. The latest move, which called on women
to wear the hijab while presenting their reports, does not specify which
type of covering to use.
Such restrictions, as well as tightening control on news reporting, has
been done to preserve <national interest>, according to the group.
‘Muzzle the media’
Zahra Nabi, a broadcast journalist who co-founded a women’s television
channel, said she felt cornered when the Taliban resumed power, and
chose to go off-air the very same day.
<All the media is under their [Taliban] control,> Nabi, who established
Baano TV in 2017, told Al Jazeera.
The network that was once run by 50 women was a symbol of how far Afghan
women have come since the Taliban’s first stint in power in the 1990s.
With most of the network’s crew members now gone, Nabi has remained
adamant about doing her job, and like many other established journalists
in Afghanistan, she has had to work under the radar.
<We work in a very tough environment, and are even collecting reports
under the burqa,> Nabi said, referring to an outer garment worn to cover
the entire body and face used by some Muslim women.
<It is really hard for female journalists,> she said, citing a recent
example where she had to enter the city of Kunduz as a humanitarian
worker, and not as a journalist.
<I’m not showing myself as a journalist. I had to arrange with local
women a safe office space to work in,> Nabi said.
Now that Baano TV is off-air, the 34-year-old said she is trying to find
other ways to showcase her reports, perhaps through social media
platforms, or via broadcasters outside the country. Commenting on the
move, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday that the new strict
guidelines will especially harm women.
<The Taliban’s new media regulations and threats against journalists
reflect broader efforts to silence all criticism of Taliban rule,> said
Patricia Gossman, an associate Asia director at HRW.
<The disappearance of any space for dissent and worsening restrictions
for women in the media and arts is devastating.>
Sonia Ahmadyar, a journalist who lost her job in August, said the
Taliban has been moving to slowly <muzzle the media>.
Day by day, the Taliban has been placing restrictions on women <to not
let them be active,> Ahmadyar told Al Jazeera.
Women <really feel discouraged to appear on TV,> she said, adding that
the group has taken away their <freedom> as well as their financial
autonomy. The 35-year-old called on the Taliban to allow women
journalists to resume working <without being harassed> as soon as
<It is their most basic right, because it is essential for their
livelihood, and because their absence from the media landscape would
have the effect of silencing all Afghan women,> she said.
‘Obliged to obey’
Previously, the Taliban stipulated that private media would be able to
operate freely as long as they did not go against Islamic values. Within
days of coming to power, the group had said that the government will be
guided by Islamic law.
But journalists and human rights activists have criticised the
guidelines as vague, saying they are subject to interpretation. It
remains unclear whether going on air without the hijab or airing foreign
dramas featuring women, would attract legal scrutiny.
When asked if avoiding the guidelines would be punishable by law,
Muhajir from the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of
Vice, told Al Jazeera citizens are <obliged to obey the guidance>,
According to Heather Barr, co-director of the Women’s Rights division of
HRW, the Taliban’s directive is just the latest step by the group to
<erase women from public life>.
The move comes after the group excluded women from senior roles in
government, abolished the women’s ministry, women’s sports, and the
system set up to respond to gender-based violence, she said.>>
Read more here:
25 Nov 2021
<<November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence
The term <violence against women> encompasses forms of male violence
against women and girls, including intimate partner abuse, sexual
harassment, human trafficking, female genital mutilation (FGM) and child
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began early last year, one in three women
say they or someone they know has experienced some form of violence,
according to data from 13 countries in a new United Nations report.
Thursday also marks the start of 16 days of activism leading up to
December 10, the International Human Rights Day, whose theme this year
is <Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!>
The five infographics below show how prevalent male violence against
women is around the world.
Intimate partner abuse
Nearly one in three women have been physically, sexually or emotionally
abused by their current or former partner at least once in their life,
according to a report published this year by the World Health
Organization and the UN. The situation is worst in Afghanistan, where
nearly 34 percent of women and girls above 15 have been abused by a
partner, data analysed from UN Women show. Five of the 10 countries
where women and girls are abused the most are in Africa. In the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, 32 percent of women and girls aged 15
or above have been abused by their intimate partners.
Some 87,000 women were murdered in 2017, according to the most recent
global homicide report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The rate of intimate partner/family-related homicide was highest in
Women are killed by male relatives or partners daily around the world.
The UN says 137 women die this way.
Most of the known human-trafficking victims are women and girls, at 46
and 19 percent respectively, according to UNODC.
Seventy-seven percent of women are trafficked for sexual exploitation,
while 14 percent are trafficked for forced labour.
Seventy-two percent of girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation, 21
percent are trafficked for forced labour.
Forced child marriages
Child marriage is prominent in several regions across Africa and in
South Asia. In Africa, Niger has the highest prevalence of child
marriage, with 76 percent of women aged 20 to 24 today who had been
married off before they were 18 years old. South Asia also has a high
proportion of child marriage, with 28 percent of girls forced into
marriage before their 18th birthday and 7 percent before their 15th.
The UN estimated that more than 100 million girls would be forced into
marriages in the coming decade. Today it estimates that a futher more
than to million girls will be forced to be married before their 18th.
Sexual violence in conflict
Some 550 of 638 recorded instances of sexual violence against civilians
in conflict zones have been women, according to figures by the Armed
Conflict Location and Event Data Project since January 2020.
Sexual violence in conflict and conflict-related sexual violence
includes war-time rape and crimes perpetrated by armed and organised
Africa accounts for the largest number of instances with 376 incidents,
the most happening in the DRC, with 135 events mostly perpetrated by
<unidentified armed groups>.>>
Source infographic: UN Women VN
Read more and view the infographic here:
by Amel Brahmi
23 Nov 2021
<<A quiet revolution: the female imams taking over an LA mosque.
While many have misinterpreted a hadith to mean women can’t enter a
mosque, these women are covering progressive topics like sexual
violence, abortion, pregnancy loss, domestic violence in their sermons.
When Tasneem Noor got on the stage at the Women’s Mosque of America in
Los Angeles, she felt butterflies in her stomach. Facing about fifty
women on praying rugs, ready to deliver a sermon – khutba in Arabic –
she took a deep breath.
During the prayers, the women would follow Noor’s lead, but several
would pray four more times after it ended, to make up for any
potentially invalid prayers. That is the result of a 14-century-old
disputed hadith that leads some to believe women are forbidden to lead
prayers and deliver sermons.
<I don’t mind,> Noor told me later. <Some people function better with
Noor, 37, is part of a quiet revolution in America: at the all women’s
mosque, she was celebrating its five year anniversary of practicing the
female imamat, a rare and often controversial practice in Islam. Women
aren’t even allowed to pray in many mosques across the world. In some
mosques in the US, women may enter, but are often forced pray in
separate rooms – leading some to call it the <penalty box>. Spiritual
leaders who have pushed boundaries – by running mixed congregation
mosques or running an LGBTQ mosque – have received death threats.
But at the Women’s Mosque of America, women are using their sermons to
cover previously untouched topics like sexual violence, pregnancy loss
and domestic violence.
One of Noor’s most memorable sermons happened in 2017 – a surprise,
considering it was largely an improvisation. After a scheduling hitch
left Noor with less than half of the 45-minutes she should have had, she
shortened her talk and changed tack: leading the congregation in a
<She asked us to track our emotions in our bodies, and let them run
their course,> recalled Nourjahan Boulden, who was in the audience that
day. <I didn’t know it was even possible to own and control your
emotions like that, but it worked.>
Boulden had come to Noor’s sermon that day not knowing what she would
find. Before that sermon, she was haunted by a destructive guilt she
She grew up in California with a love for belly-dancing – a practice
inherited from her Baloch mother – but also hearing a lot of <if you do
this, you’ll burn in hell>. That belief took hold inside her, and began
to grow. Then, she was shot in the leg in a nightclub in Toronto in
2006. Boulden, a college student at the time, overheard one of her aunts
say, <She was out dancing, what did she expect?>
Then, she had a miscarriage. The child was conceived out of wedlock,
with her Christian partner, and so the guilt grew again. She got to a
point where she believed her misfortunes resulted from not conforming to
Noor offered Boulden another frame. <I didn’t tell her she was wrong for
feeling punished,> Noor said. <I helped her to look at it differently
and asked, ‘What else is true?’> Noor told her that God had given her
the talent of dancing and that it wasn’t a shameful practice, like many
thought. She told her that her intentions – what’s in her heart – is
what mattered. If she felt happiest belly dancing, , then dancing was
how she was meant to connect with God.
Boulden was in disbelief.
<You’re the guide I had been waiting for,> Boulden told her.
Noor was also in disbelief. She had never seen herself as someone that
people had been waiting for.>>
Read more here:
Agence France-Presse in Kabul
Nov 23 2021
Afghan journalists decry Taliban rules restricting role of women on TV.
Journalists asked to wear a hijab and broadcasters told to stop showing
dramas featuring female actors.
Afghan journalists and rights activists have condemned <religious
guidelines> issued by the Taliban that restrict the role of women in
television, as the Islamists move to muzzle the media. The Ministry for
the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice on Sunday called on
broadcasters to stop showing dramas and soap operas featuring female
Female journalists in Afghanistan are at increased risk of violence and
extremist attacks as conflict between the government and Taliban
It also told broadcasters not to screen films or programmes that are
<against Islamic or Afghan values> and asked female television
journalists to wear a hijab at work.
Zan TV, the first Afghan channel staffed exclusively by female producers
and reporters, tweeted that the guidelines threatened media freedom and
would reduce the presence of female journalists.
The Taliban’s interpretation of the hijab – which can range from a hair
covering to a face veil or full body covering – is unclear, and the
majority of Afghan women already wear headscarves. The attempt to
regulate the media comes three months after the Taliban swept back into
Hujatullah Mujadidi, a founding member of the Federation of Afghan
Journalists, said if applied the guidelines would force <some media
outlets, especially television, to stop working>.
Many shows rolled out to fill TV schedules, notably soap operas produced
in India and Turkey, will be inappropriate under the guidelines, making
it difficult for channels to generate enough output and retain
A ministry spokesman said after the announcement that the measures
amounted to <religious guidelines> rather than rules.
But Qari Abdul Sattar Saeed, a media spokesperson for the Taliban prime
minister, days earlier accused the Afghan media of conveying propaganda
for the <enemy> and said they should be treated harshly.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid gestures towards journalists at
a press conference in Kabul on 24 Mujahid
Aslia Ahmadzai, a journalist in exile, said female journalists <will
feel threatened> by the measures.
Another exiled Afghan journalist, who wanted to remain anonymous,
described the guidelines as <the first step to banning the TV
altogether, just like in the 90s>.>>
Read more here:
There are 2 more articles in the above one. I quote some excerpts from
the first one:
Women report Afghanistan is supported by
<<Women report Afghanistan
‘For as long as we can’: reporting as an Afghan woman as the Taliban
A collective of female journalists are battling to make women’s voices
heard as the Islamist militants tighten their grip on the country
by Ruchi Kumar
Despite years of development, investment and progress in the Afghan
media industry, 28-year-old Zahra Joya often found she was the only
woman in a newsroom. “It was a lonely space, dominated by men who made
the decisions about which stories were important, and which were not,”
Joya, who is from the persecuted Hazara community, felt she faced
discrimination because of her ethnicity and sex. <There were so few
women journalists in Kabul,> she says. <There would hardly be women
reporters covering political events or press conferences even though
these stories affect us greatly.>
Determined to disrupt this male-dominated landscape, in November last
year, Joya started Rukhshana Media – a news website telling stories of
Afghanistan’s women, written by Afghanistan’s women. She chose the name
as a tribute to the victims of Afghanistan’s patriarchy and all the
women overlooked in the country’s history.
<In 2015, a girl named Rukhshana from Ghor province was accused of
adultery and running away from home. She was escaping forced marriage,>
says Joya. <The boy who accompanied her was given 100 lashes for
‘insolence’ for the same crime, but Rukhshana was stoned to death. Since
the day I watched the video of her public stoning, her story stayed with
In its brief existence, Rukhshana has told powerful stories of Afghan
women’s struggle, offering the platform to local female journalists.
They have written about women’s reproductive health, domestic and sexual
violence, and gender discrimination, among other things.
<It is often the case that stories of Afghan women are decided by Afghan
men or international journalists in the outside world. And while our
presence in Afghan media is celebrated as an example of ‘women’s
empowerment’, not much attention or space is given to us for defining
what story should be covered,> Joya says.
<For example, Afghan media reports on rape cases, but they never report
[on] what life looks like for survivors. That is what we are interested
to tell,> she says. <At Rukhshana Media, we are trying to define the
story from the perspective of Afghan women.> >>
Read more here:
Kim Willsher in Paris
1 Sep 2021
<<Female journalists in Afghanistan are being forced out of jobs and
told to stay at home despite Taliban promises to allow them to keep
working and to respect press freedom, according to a report.
Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) says it believes fewer than 100 of
Kabul’s 700 female journalists are still working and only a handful are
continuing to work from home in two other Afghan provinces. Others have
been attacked and harassed.
By shutting down female voices in the media, the Taliban are in the
process of silencing all the country’s women, it says.
Since the Taliban took over the country on 15 August, a survey by RSF
and its partner organisation, the Centre for the Protection of Afghan
Women Journalists (CPAWJ), found most female staff in media
organisations, including journalists, have stopped working.>>
Read more here:
Emma Graham-Harrison in Gereshk, Helmand
21 Nov 2021
<<On Helmand’s bleak wards, dying children pay the price as western aid
to Afghanistan is switched off.
The staff are unpaid, the drugs are running out. Gereshk hospital can
only watch as tiny infants succumb to treatable diseases.
Shirin has paid heavily for both Afghanistan’s conflict, and its abrupt
end in Taliban victory. Three years ago her husband lost his leg when a
roadside bomb hit his bus. Then in the summer the militants’ victory
brought peace to her corner of Helmand, but a halt to the foreign aid
funds that paid her salary as a hospital cleaner and kept the family
afloat. They fell behind on rent, were evicted from their home and began
running out of food. Three weeks ago, worn down by cold, hunger and
disruption, Mohammad Omar died from wounds that had never fully healed,
leaving her a single mother to their four children.
<He died because of a lack of money. No one would even give us a loan,>
said Shirin, 50. <We are suffering too much, but if we just got our
salaries, everything would be solved.>
But even when she wasn’t being paid, she kept coming to the Gereshk
district hospital to work at the maternity unit. <We are needed here,>
she said, as a newborn girl was rushed off for oxygen and she prepared
to move the mother into a recovery room and sterilise her bed for the
The wards need a cleaner in order to remain as safe as possible for new
mothers, even in a hospital starved of cash and slowly grinding to a
halt, like this one. Last month the operating theatre had to shut down,
because there was no money for fuel for the generator – there is no grid
power in this rural corner of Helmand near former Camp Bastion – or any
gas to sterilise their equipment.
So women whose lives depended on having a caesarean, a car accident
victim who needed open chest surgery, and people with inflamed
appendixes all had to be sent off in taxis with a prayer that they would
survive the hour’s drive to Lashkar Gah, where the Boost hospital
supported by charity Médecins Sans Frontières still had power and
The roads may have been clear of the bombs and gunfights that prevented
so many people in Helmand’s villages from reaching medical care, but the
hospitals and clinics were no longer functioning properly.
<I could tell you about many cases,> said surgeon Karim Walid. <There
was a woman who needed a caesarean because of the baby’s position. She
had no money so we went round collecting a few thousand Afghanis for a
car to take her to Boost.> The lab ran out of test equipment, for
diseases from malaria to HIV, for blood counts or blood sugar levels.
<All we had left were pregnancy and TB tests,> said lab manager Bashir
Eventually, even gloves ran out for midwives on the labour ward. <We
asked those who could afford them to buy their own,> said Malalai, a
midwife who worked with Shirin. For the others, the hospital went into
debt. <I get calls every day from the shopkeepers, asking me why aren’t
you giving us the money you owe us,> said Haji Mohammad Barak, director
of the Gereshk hospital until early November, now provincial manager for
a healthcare programme.
Fortunately, they had managed to patch up a hole in the inpatient ward
roof, made by an air strike in the last days of fighting, before money
totally ran out, he said. The bomb miraculously landed just between the
five beds lining the walls of the ward, without causing any serious
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
visited Kabul in September and warned the whole healthcare system was on
the brink of collapse, prompting the UN to arrange payment of one
The operating theatre in Gereshk has reopened, the lab is restocked and
medical staff say they have been promised another three months of pay.
But these are temporary solutions that will run out in the middle of
Afghanistan’s bitter winter.
<We need something permanent; we can’t manage just getting a few months’
salary then everything goes again,> said the midwife, Malalai, who is
the family’s main breadwinner. <Don’t leave us here without hope.> >>
Read more here:
19 Nov 2021
<<Thousands of Afghans seek temporary US entry, only 100 approved.
More than 28,000 Afghans have applied for admission to the US, but only
about 100 have been approved since the Taliban takeover.
More than 28,000 Afghans have applied for temporary admission into the
United States for humanitarian reasons since shortly before the Taliban
recaptured Afghanistan and sparked a chaotic US withdrawal, but only
about 100 of them have been approved, according to federal officials.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has struggled to keep up
with the surge in applications to a little-used programme, known as
humanitarian parole, but promises it is ramping up staff to address the
Afghan families in the US and the immigrant groups supporting them say
the slow pace of approvals threatens the safety of their loved ones,
many of whom fear being targeted by the new Taliban rulers for their
ties to the US-led forces in the country.
The US-led NATO forces left the country on August 31, 20 years after
deposing the Taliban government in a military invasion in the wake of
the September 11 attacks. The Taliban armed group, which waged a
decades-long armed rebellion against US forces, retook power in August
after the West-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani collapsed.
Top Taliban leaders have pledged to offer amnesty to people who worked
for the previous government, but some Afghans fear that they may still
be targeted by the lower-level Taliban fighters.
<We’re worried for their lives,> says Safi, a Massachusetts resident
whose family is sponsoring 21 relatives seeking humanitarian parole. <Sometimes,
I think there will be a day when I wake up and receive a call saying
that they’re no more.>
The 38-year-old US permanent resident, who asked that her last name not
be used for fear of retribution against her relatives, is hoping to
bring over her sister, uncle and their families. She says the families
have been in hiding and their house was destroyed in a recent bombing
because her uncle had been a prominent local official before the Taliban
Read more here:
19 Nov 2021
Haroon Janjua in Islamabad
<<Abducted Afghan psychiatrist found dead weeks after disappearance.
Family say the body of Dr Nader Alemi, who was taken by armed men in
September, showed signs of torture.
One of Afghanistan’s most prominent psychiatrists, who was abducted by
armed men in September, has been found dead, his family has confirmed.
Dr Nader Alemi’s daughter, Manizheh Abreen, said that her father had
been tortured before he died.
<Yesterday we have paid $350,000 [£260,400] to the abductors and they
promised to release my father today. But this morning we have received
his dead body instead.>
Alemi, 66, who opened the country’s first private psychiatric hospital,
was abducted in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, after his car was
stopped as he was being driven home from work. He had received
threatening calls and messages in the months before his abduction.
The kidnappers originally demanded a ransom of $800,000 (£600,000).
Abreen said: <They told us to sell our house and hospital and we
bargained with them and pleaded that no one will buy property in this
situation. They weren’t listening. We collected money from our friends
and family and sold the cars and jewellery we had. We could only afford
this much [$350,000]. Our father was old, plus he was suffering from
diabetes, but those brutal people didn’t pay heed.>
Abreen said her father’s body showed clear signs of torture.
Alemi was a prominent figure in Mazar-i-Sharif, where he opened his
hospital. He was believed to be the only Pashto-speaking psychiatrist in
northern Afghanistan, and his patients had included Taliban fighters.
Dr Khan Murad Muradi, one of the doctors in Alemi’s hospital, said he
was a <kind-hearted man>.
He said: <No one feels safe here in Mazar-i-Sharif.> >>
Read more here:
18 Nov 2021
<<Afghanistan ‘on the brink of catastrophe’: UN envoy
UN special representative to Afghanistan urges the international
community to find ways to provide financial support to the Afghan people.
The UN envoy for Afghanistan says the country is <on the brink of a
humanitarian catastrophe>, urging the international community to find
ways to provide financial support to the Afghan people, who <feel
Deborah Lyons said an estimated 60 percent of Afghanistan’s 38 million
people are facing crisis levels of hunger in a food emergency that will
likely worsen over the winter.
“Now is not the time to turn away from the Afghan people,” Lyons said at
a press conference on Wednesday at the UN.
<To abandon the Afghan people now would be a historic mistake – a
mistake that has been made before with tragic consequences,> she had
told the UN Security Council earlier in the day.
Humanitarian catastrophe ‘is preventable’
Lyons added that the humanitarian catastrophe <is preventable> as its
main cause is financial sanctions on the Taliban, who took over the
country in August, and she assured the international community the UN
would make every effort to avoid the diversion of funds to the Taliban.
Sanctions <have paralysed the banking system, affecting every aspect of
the economy>, according to the UN envoy. The country’s GDP is estimated
to have contracted by 40 percent since the Taliban takeover. The
International Monetary Fund (IMF) blocked the release of about $450m to
Afghanistan more than a week after the West-backed government collapsed
and the Taliban took over. The Afghan central bank’s $9bn in reserves,
most of which are held in the US, were also frozen. Asked by Al
Jazeera’s James Bays if releasing the frozen funds would alleviate the
current humanitarian crisis, Lyons said: <We’re looking at the money
that has already been committed by the donors for the humanitarian work
and making sure we have mechanisms in place to have that flowing.>
<Unfreezing assets is something that is a decision by key countries.>
Lyons said a new mechanism to pay health workers’ salaries has been set
up. The Taliban has struggled to pay workers in key sectors such as
health and education.
The <paralysis of the banking sector will push more of the financial
system into unaccountable and unregulated informal money exchanges,> the
envoy said, which <can only help facilitate terrorism, trafficking and
further drug smuggling> that will first affect Afghanistan and then <infect
Against that tenuous backdrop, Lyons warned that the Taliban has been
unable to stem the expansion of ISIL (ISIS), which now seems to be
present in nearly all provinces and is increasingly active. The UN
estimates the number of attacks attributed to ISIL has increased
significantly, from 60 last year to 334 this year.>>
Read more here:
Pehal news team
16 Nov 2021
<<‘If I can get a plane into the sky, I can do anything’: female Afghan
pilot refuses to be grounded
Months after Mohadese Mirzaee became Afghanistan’s first female
commercial airline pilot, the Taliban took Kabul. Now a refugee in
Bulgaria, she is determined to fly again.
Sitting alone in her small flat in Bulgaria, Mohadese Mirzaee
contemplates the future. Three months ago, she left behind her family,
and her dream job, in Afghanistan. At 23, Mirzaee was the country’s
first female commercial airline pilot.
<Today, I don’t know where to go, but I’m not giving up. I’ve started
applying for pilot jobs anywhere because I know I need to get back to
flying,> she says by phone from the capital, Sofia.
When news broke that the Taliban had seized Kabul, Mirzaee was already
at the airport in her uniform, preparing for her evening flight to
Istanbul. She had left home early that morning, waving goodbye to her
mother and two sisters. The flight never took off. As thousands of
Afghans stormed the city’s international airport, desperate to leave the
country, Mirzaee was diverted to a flight to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv
– this time as a passenger.
<It was dark when we took off, that’s all I remember,> she says. <It was
a rollercoaster of emotions because everything happened so quickly. I
couldn’t believe Kabul had fallen. When I left my house in the morning
and said goodbye to my family, I couldn’t have imagined that by evening
time, I’d be permanently leaving home. I saw my country crumbling,> she
Just months earlier, Mirzaee had made headlines as one of the pilots of
a Kam Air Boeing 737 – the country’s first flight with an all-female
The Taliban want to silence women. If I give up on my passion, they have
achieved their goal. <It was a huge accomplishment for Afghanistan and
for the male-dominated aviation industry in general,> says Mirzaee. She
believed then that change within the country’s conservative society was
possible, and that she and the airline would be part of it.
But when the Taliban established an all-male government that saw
hundreds of women removed from their jobs, Mirzaee says she was robbed
of her hopes for the future.
<Afghan women have done amazingly over the past decades. We’ve used any
opportunities given to us. We fought for our rights and scored big
achievements. I was hopeful that a window had opened. I was approached
by many young women who also dreamed of becoming a pilot,> Mirzaee says.
‘I’m hoping another airline will give me a chance to continue my career,’
says Mohadese Mirzaee. ‘I will fight for my passion.’ <With the Taliban
takeover, it all disappeared. They are the same barbaric group they have
been in the past and they want to silence women. If I give up on my
passion, they have achieved their goal.> >>
14 Nov 2021
Emma Graham-Harrison and Zahra Nader
<<‘I loved my job in the police. Then the Taliban came for me’.
After a vicious beating, Fatima Ahmadi fled Afghanistan with her
children for Pakistan. But her pleas for asylum in the west are met by
Fatima Ahmadi only stopped screaming when the Taliban held a knife to
her child’s throat, and told her: <Shut up, or we will kill your son.>
They had burst into the policewoman’s Kabul home one late September
morning, demanding she hand over her weapons. She told the Taliban she
had no guns at home, but they said she was lying, ransacked the house,
then began beating her, pulling out handfuls of hair, and when she would
not stop shouting, they grabbed her nine-year-old son.
The knife was pressed so violently into his throat it left a red welt,
visible in photographs seen by the Observer. Ahmadi’s back was covered
with bruising from an assault so vicious that she lost control of her
bodily functions. The men eventually left, but with an ominous warning.
<We will come back.>
A divorced single mother of two young children, Ahmadi had no idea who
gave the Taliban her address, or what they might do on a return visit,
but she knew the family couldn’t risk waiting to find out. There have
been several murders of female police officers since the hardline group
took control of Afghanistan, including a vicious attack on one woman who
was eight months pregnant.
So she packed her bags, went into hiding and days later managed to flee
with her two boys to Pakistan. But their visa is only valid for 60 days
and she is terrified about what will come next; Pakistani authorities
are deporting Afghans without documents.
<When I arrived, I slept for three nights and days, because I hadn’t
been sleeping for weeks, but now I am worried again. And Mirwais, my son
who had the dagger put to his throat by the Taliban, he wakes up
screaming in the night,> she told the Observer.
She has tried to apply for refugee status in Pakistan through the United
Nations, but has had no response yet. Asylum applications to western
countries that sponsored police training, and encouraged women to join
the force, have met with silence, despite the documented evidence of
threats to her and her children’s lives. <I don’t care about myself, I
am already done. All I think about is a future for my children,
somewhere peaceful where they can study,> she said. <I don’t want their
lives to be like mine.>
With the frantic evacuations that followed the fall of Kabul long
finished, the risks to Afghans who fear for their lives under the
Taliban are fading from the headlines. But there are regular reports of
reprisal killings, despite an official amnesty for anyone who worked in
the security forces or for the last government. Thousands of people are
still in hiding inside Afghanistan and thousands more like Ahmadi are
clinging to precarious safety in neighbouring countries.
<There is a group of people we have heard less about in recent months,
who have made it out of Afghanistan but not been able to reach anywhere
that is safe for them and can be a new home,> said Heather Barr,
associate director for women’s rights at Human Rights Watch.
They have no legal status as refugees in the countries to which they
have temporarily escaped, and live in permanent fear of deportation back
to Afghanistan. Both Iran and Pakistan, which have taken in millions of
Afghans over decades of war in the country, have said they will not
accept another wave of refugees.
<There are a lot of people out there who are in this kind of limbo like
Fatima Ahmadi. They are really stuck and have claims to needing asylum
in some of the countries that contributed troops to the Afghan mission,
just as much as those who were evacuated, or those still trying to
escape Afghanistan,> says Barr.
Ahmadi does not know why she was targeted on that afternoon in Kabul,
but her life was a template for the opportunities the west claimed to
offer Afghan women, and her courage and achievements represent
everything Taliban authorities hate. She was forced to marry an abusive,
drug-addicted husband when she was just 12, and he beat her so badly she
has been left with a permanent limp and memory problems.
She was astonished and delighted when a decade ago, desperate for money
and unable to work himself, he pushed her to join the police force. She
loved her job and it eventually gave her the confidence and money to get
<I had always admired the police cars, the guns, so I was very excited
and grabbed the opportunity. It was my dream to work as a policewoman,>
she said. <It changed my life.>
In 2020, confident that Afghanistan was changing, she went public with
accusations of sexual harassment inside the police and the interior
ministry. One of the men she says targeted her was a deputy minister.>>
Read more here:
12 Sept 2021
Emma Graham-Harrison in Kandahar
<<Afghanistan’s shrinking horizons: ‘Women feel everything is finished’.
The Taliban claim to have changed, but the crackdown has begun for women
across the country.
In two months, Parwana estimates she has crossed the threshold of her
home perhaps four times. She used to leave early in the morning, for
work that supported her entire family, and then go on to an evening
degree course. After the Taliban took over Kandahar, her manager told
her not to come to work and her university hasn’t yet sorted out how to
put on the gender-divided classes they demanded.
Many people have welcomed the calm that settled over the city after the
war abruptly ended, but for Parwana, as a single young woman, streets
patrolled by Taliban soldiers are filled with menace. <Now I’m scared to
go out. I wasn’t before.>
<I thought I was somebody, I could do something for my family and help
others. Now I can’t even support myself,> she said. <Women here feel
like everything is finished for them.>
The Taliban leadership, eager for international recognition and funds,
has for years been courting the world with promises that the group has
fundamentally shifted its positions on women’s rights. When their
fighters seized Kabul, spokesman Zabihullah Mujiahid pledged within days
that women would have rights to education and work, within an Islamic
framework the group has yet to define.
As the weeks have passed, with no further clarification, the evidence
from the ground in Afghanistan suggests they envisage a form of gender
apartheid. Women may be offered some rights, but will be expected to
study and work in a sphere so totally detached from that of men running
the country, the economy and all major sectors that their lives will
still be severely curtailed.
Niamatullah Hassan, the new Taliban mayor of Kandahar, says he has two
women back at work in his administration, out of a 1,200-strong
municipal team. He will allow more women employees, once they can be
isolated from men and the central government approves.
<I am willing to increase the number of women workers, we are planning
to prepare a separate workplace for them, a safe environment for them,>
Health and education workers are mostly still at their offices, though
some in Kandahar have been ordered to wear burqas, but all other women
have been ordered to stay home indefinitely for <security> reasons. The
Observer has pressed senior officials around the country in interviews
for a date when women will be allowed back to work nationwide. Most
defer the question or offer a vague promise of <soon>. Afghan women are
sceptical; in the 1990s the group used the same excuse to ban them from
work for the five years they held power.
In education too, there are many promises from the leadership, but
women’s experience is of restrictions. Although some private
universities have opened, with students strictly segregated by gender, a
shortage of female teachers, or female students, will close off many
subjects to women.>>
Read more here:
11 Nov 2021
<<Iran deporting thousands of Afghan refugees.
The IOM estimates over one million Afghans have been sent back this year,
despite dire conditions awaiting them.
Iran is sending tens of thousands of Afghan refugees back over the
border, aid agencies and witnesses say, amid allegations of mistreatment
by Iranian authorities. The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
found that just over one million Afghans have been sent back this year,
including more than 28,000 Afghans in the last week of October, despite
the dire conditions awaiting them.
<The majority were deported, returning to Afghanistan often broke and
broken, in need of health support, food and rest,> IOM director general
Antonio Vitorino said in a statement on Thursday.
Millions of Afghans crossed into their western neighbour seeking to
escape violence and a shattered economy after the Taliban takeover of
Kabul in mid-August compounded the crisis, disrupting international aid
flows just as severe drought left more than half the population facing
acute food shortages. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) estimates as
many as 4,000-5,000 Afghans have been crossing into Iran daily since the
Taliban seized power, with hundreds of thousands more expected to arrive
in the coming winter.
Last month, the UN declared that Afghanistan was on the brink of one of
the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with more than half of the
country facing acute food shortages.
IOM said Iran has returned 1,031,757 Afghans to their home country so
far this year. The UN migration agency counted at least 3,200
unaccompanied children among them. Returning Afghans who spoke to the
AFP news agency reported being held in crowded, filthy detention camps
where some were beaten before being transported to the border crossing.
<They did not see us as humans,> said 19-year-old Abdul Samad, who was
working in construction in Iran before he was deported.
Abdul Samad said he was beaten by Iranian authorities in a migrant
detention camp because he had no money to pay for his deportation.
<They tied our hands and blindfolded our eyes with pieces of cloth, and
insulted us,> he said.
Buses arrive at Islam Qala, on the Afghan side of the main border
crossing with Iran, every afternoon. AFP interviewed some 20 returning
Afghans, all of whom had tales of mistreatment.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR has appealed to all nations to stop the
forced returns of Afghans given the <highly volatile situation> and has
been continuing to <advocate with the government of Iran>.
Iran maintains it welcomes Afghan refugees, provides the necessary
assistance, and has sent aid shipments to its neighbour in recent weeks.
Tehran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht Ravanchi, was
quoted by Iranian media in late October as saying <we are hosting our
Afghan brothers almost without receiving any new resources from the
<In addition to food, shelter, medicine and education, we now provide
COVID-19 vaccines to refugees while we are under severe and illegal US
sanctions,> he said.
Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi last month called on Afghans not
to come to the country because <our capacities are limited>, according
to the state-run Tehran Times.>>
Read more here:
<Eliminating women means eliminating human beings!> One slogan of
Afghanistans Resistence Women's Slogans.
9 Nov 2021
Taliban rule sparks hopes of peace in rural Afghanistan
Away from the cities, many believe Taliban’s rule could bring a stop to
fighting and hope for an end to corruption.
In the villages that once bore the brunt of Afghanistan’s front-line
fighting, the Taliban victory has broken a cycle of air attacks, gun
battles and funerals. The group’s takeover of Kabul and the sudden
collapse in August of the United States-backed government shocked the
world and upended the freedoms of Afghans, which were particularly
enjoyed by the urban middle class.
But away from main cities, where little of the international aid worth
billions of dollars ever reached, many believe the Taliban’s rule could
bring a stop to the fighting and the hope for an end to corruption.
<I would give everything for the Taliban,> said 72-year-old Maky as she
prepared cotton fibre in her hardened hands with a group of other women
in Dashtan, a remote farming settlement in northern Balkh province.
<Now there is no sound of shooting. The war is over and we are happy
with the Taliban.>
A US-led invasion removed the Taliban in 2001, which led to 20 years of
military occupation by NATO forces.
A democratic government was restored, women were once again allowed to
work and study, and a vocal civil society was rebuilt.
But corruption and vote-rigging allegations plagued government
institutions, justice was slow and ineffective, and foreign troops were
tainted by accusations of colluding with warlords, abusing Afghans and
disrespecting local customs.
Thousands of civilians were killed or injured each year in attacks by
the Taliban and air raids by US-led forces, with progress largely
limited to cities as the worst of the war raged in rural areas. Mohammad
Nasir earns 200-300 afghanis ($2-3) a day at a cotton field on the
outskirts of the historic town of Balkh, yards from the ninth-century
Noh Gonbad Mosque, believed to be Afghanistan’s earliest Islamic
He weighs the white crop from a scale hanging on a tree, before stuffing
it into huge orange bags, ready for collection. Nasir said he did not
support either side in the conflict that raged through most of his life.
<I was against both of them because I wanted peace,> said the
24-year-old from nearby Zawlakai village. <I didn’t want to fight.>
At another plantation nearby, 26-year-old Farima is among dozens of
women and children harvesting cotton in the sunshine, wrapped up warmly
against the wind.
During the war, she avoided leaving her home, afraid of being injured.
With the cotton-picking season ending, she is now working on the land
each day with her daughters Asma, 10, and Husna, 9, and son Barktula,
aged just three. For her, life since the Taliban takeover remains
unstable and exhausting. While the end of the conflict is a relief,
hardship and insecurity endure.
<What change has come? We are still hungry and there are no jobs,> she
The pickers in the fields in Dawlatabad district are paid about 10
afghanis (11 cents of a US dollar) per kilogram, each making 200 to 300
A looming economic disaster means the Taliban’s window for holding on to
loyalty may be short.
Essentials such as cooking oil, rice and tomato paste now cost a lot
more after the national currency, the afghani, depreciated and the
country’s reserves were frozen abroad.
Afghanistan is now home to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises,
with more than half of Afghans expected to suffer <acute food insecurity>
this winter, as a severe drought devastates the country.>>
Read more here:
8 Nov 2021
By Ali M Latifi and Mohsin Khan Mohmand
<<The World Health Organization and the United Nations children’s agency
have launched a four-day effort to vaccinate millions of children in
Afghanistan against polio, the first campaign in three years. The
programme, announced by the Ministry of Public Health and backed by the
Taliban, aims to address the 3.3 million children who have gone
unvaccinated since 2018, the last time health workers were able to
access limited areas of the country.
Increased fighting between the forces of the former Western-backed
government and the Taliban made inoculation increasingly difficult over
the last three years. Afghanistan remains one of only two countries
where the disease is still endemic. The other is Pakistan.
With the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate controlling nearly all of the
country, including the capital, Kabul, there are renewed hopes that the
nation’s children can receive shots without fear for the safety of their
families, health workers and volunteers involved in the campaigns.
Farida, a vaccinator in the city of Kabul, said she has been waiting for
the last three years to properly begin her work. The 26-year-old spent
Monday going from house to house in the city vaccinating children.
She said their original plan was for teams to fan out across the capital
reaching as many families as possible. Initially, their goal was for
each team to visit at least 100 houses each day, but she said
overcrowding in Afghanistan’s urban centres meant that some of the teams
have already had to double their daily goal.
She said most families have shown little hesitation so far, but that
some families remain hesitant.
<Some families just lack the education. Others, though, believe a lot of
the misinformation they hear from other people,> she told Al Jazeera.
<I’ve had some families say that the vaccine will somehow make their
children rowdy or misbehave, but I keep telling them, ‘How a child acts
is up to how they are raised, not medicine’.>
Having spent the last three years working on polio awareness and small
vaccination efforts, Farida says 90 percent of Afghan households are
aware of the disease and its dangers, which she says is a big help to
the ministry’s efforts.
Farida said it is important that awareness campaigns continue across the
country, so they can educate people who may believe conspiracy theories
and false statements.
Involvement of women
The involvement of Farida and other young women in the inoculation
campaign is also an important step at a time when the Taliban has come
under fire for its unclear policies towards women returning to the
workforce in Afghanistan.
Last week, Human Rights Watch released a report saying female aid
workers had been banned from working in 31 of the nation’s 34 provinces.
Heather Barr, Associate Director of HRW’s Women’s Rights Division, says
the inclusion of female vaccinators is a positive step, but that the
Taliban must do all it can to ensure their safety, especially outside
<It is imperative that female vaccinators can have a written statement
from the Taliban to make sure that they won’t face any possible
harassment when they’re out on the field,> Barr told Al Jazeera. Barr
says so far, the ability of female aid workers to go about their work
was based on a verbal agreement from the Taliban leadership, but having
a paper document would do more to protect them.
Shortly after taking power in August, the Taliban had called on female
government workers to stay at home until it could assure that its forces
would not discriminate against or harass them. Female health workers
were quickly exempted from that order.
The latest round of inoculation efforts is a joint effort between the
World Health Organization and UNICEF that has been backed by the
Taliban’s Islamic Emirate. In the past, such efforts were hindered by
the 20-year war between the Western-supported Islamic Republic and the
Taliban, which was the largest armed opposition group in the country.
In recent years, some residents in the districts of Nangarhar province
were able to convince the Taliban to allow local groups to vaccinate
children, but those efforts were limited in scope and required local
elders to win the support of regional Taliban forces, which were often
suspicious about the intention of such campaigns. Now that the Taliban
has taken over the country, its leadership has shown greater willingness
for such efforts to resume.
In a statement released to the media, UNICEF’s Representative in
Afghanistan, Hervé Ludovic De Lys said: <To eliminate polio completely,
every child in every household across Afghanistan must be vaccinated,
and with our partners, this is what we are setting out to do.> >>
Read more here:
5 Nov 2021
Zahra Nader and Amie Ferris-Rotman
<<Women’s rights activist shot dead in northern Afghanistan.
Frozan Safi, 29, is believed to be the first women’s rights defender to
be killed since Taliban return to power.
A 29-year-old activist and economics lecturer, Frozan Safi, has been
shot and killed in northern Afghanistan, in what appears to be the first
known death of a women’s rights defender since the Taliban swept to
power almost three months ago.
Frozan Safi’s body was identified in a morgue in the city of
Mazar-i-Sharif after she went missing on 20 October. <We recognised her
by her clothes. Bullets had destroyed her face,> said Safi’s sister,
Rita, who is a doctor.
<There were bullet wounds all over, too many to count, on her head,
heart, chest, kidneys and legs.> Her engagement ring and her bag had
both been taken, Rita added.
On Thursday, Taliban security forces brought the bodies of two
unidentified women who had been shot dead to the Balkh provincial
hospital, said Meraj Faroqi, a doctor there. They had been found
alongside the bodies of two men in a house in Mazar-i-Sharif, said
Zabihullah Noorani, the Taliban’s director for information and cultural
affairs in Balkh province, who suggested that they could have been
victims of a <personal feud>. Police were investigating the case, he
The deaths underscore the pervasive sense of fear in Taliban-controlled
Afghanistan, where a spate of reprisal killings of people linked to the
previous government has fostered an atmosphere of impunity and confusion.
Since mid-August, women have held regular, nationwide protests against
the Taliban, demanding that their rights be restored and protected.
Barely a day passes in Afghanistan without women’s rights further
shrinking. Girls are de facto banned from secondary school, the new
government is all-male and women have been barred from most sports and
On Thursday Human Rights Watch said Taliban rules were prohibiting most
women from operating as aid workers in the country, hastening a looming
humanitarian disaster. Activists say they are being hunted down by the
Taliban, who have perfected ways to infiltrate and intimidate women’s
Towards the end of last month, Frozan received a call from an anonymous
number, telling her to gather proof of her work as a rights defender and
leave for a safe house. This made sense to her: Frozan believed her
request for asylum in Germany was under way. She stuffed some documents,
including her university diploma, into a bag, threw a black and white
scarf over her head and left home, said Rita.
She was wary of pointing her finger at the Taliban. <We just don’t know
who killed her,> Rita said. The sisters’ father, Abdul Rahman Safi, 66,
said Frozan’s body had been found in a pit not far from the city, and
was registered by hospital workers as unknown.
Zahra, another protest organiser who spoke to the Guardian using only
one name out of security concerns, said she had been with Frozan at the
most recent protest in Mazar-i-Sharif against Taliban rule.
<My WhatsApp has been hacked. I wouldn’t dare go on social media now,>
The Guardian published the article in partnership with Rukhshana Media.
Read more here:
4 Nov 2021
Rights and freedom is supported by
Zahra Nader and Amie Ferris-Rotman
<<They stayed to fight the Taliban. Now the protesters are being hunted
Women’s rights activists fear for their lives as Afghanistan’s new
rulers infiltrate, detain, beat and torture groups of protesters.
A month ago, Reshmin was busy organising protests against Taliban rule
in online groups of hundreds of fellow women’s rights activists. Now the
26- year-old economics graduate must operate clandestinely, dressing in
disguise and only demonstrating with a select few.
<If things continue like this, there will be no future for women in
Afghanistan. It’s better if the future never arrives,> says Reshmin, who
spoke to the Guardian using only her first name, which means <silk> in
Farsi, out of security concerns. <Each time we go out, we say farewell
because we might not make it back alive.>
Since the Taliban’s lightning takeover of the country in August, Reshmin
and her younger sister have attended a flurry of protests in Kabul, part
nationwide demonstrations where Afghan women have hoisted signs
demanding the right to education and work, and chanted slogans such as
<Freedom!> and <Eliminating women means eliminating human beings!> They
belong to a cohort of Afghan women’s rights defenders who chose not to
flee this summer but stayed to tackle the Taliban’s clampdown on their
freedoms. Buoyed up by the past 20 years of international support and
encouragement, they have staged pockets of protest across Afghanistan,
from quiet parks to urban thoroughfares. The Taliban have responded with
violence, beating women with electric batons and detaining and torturing
the reporters who covered the protests.
<The next generation will be brainwashed by the Taliban’s ideology, then
it will spread like the Covid-19 virus. The world needs to pay attention
for its own sake,> Reshmin says. But international pressure to hold the
Taliban accountable over the rights of women and girls is being ignored.
A slew of foreign delegations, aid agencies and donors, including from
the UK, have consisted of all-male teams and only <legitimises the
Taliban’s patriarchal view of the world>,
Heather Barr, of Human Rights Watch, warned this week.
Now, two months into Taliban rule, the activists say they are being
hunted down. In recent weeks the Taliban have accelerated their
women’s groups by infiltrating and intimidating them. Activists
described how on several occasions members of the Taliban appeared at a
private address that was only discussed on closed chat groups on social
media. Ahead of a recent protest in Kabul, Taliban police called a group
of women on their phones just before they set out to put up posters,
Reshmin says. <The only tool they know is to silence people through
creating fear,> says Mina, a university professor and activist, who
asked that a pseudonym be used for fear of retribution from the Taliban.
Zahra, another organiser in Kabul, describes methods ranging from having
women pose as journalists to obtain personal information from protesters
to spreading rumours among activists that their number had been shared
with members of the Taliban.
<The Taliban know if they lash us on the street they’ll look bad and get
criticised,> says Zahra, <but it’s easy to try to dismantle women’s
Zahra, who obtained her master’s degree in urban design last year, was
supervising the building of a women-only outdoor market when the Taliban
swept to power. The European-funded project has been abandoned and she
now pours all her energy into activism.
Last month the Taliban banned all demonstrations that do not have
official approval, adding the requirement that slogans at the protests
approved by the group first. Mina says this is a tactic designed to
expose them. <They are trying to identify some of the active members of
the women’s movement. This is how they force them to submit,> she says.
Reshmin, who was protesting on Kabul’s streets last week, says she will
not ask the Taliban for permission because <that would mean we have
accepted their regime>.
Since the Taliban captured Kabul just over two months ago, there has
been a cascade of miserable news for Afghan women and barely a day
passes without their rights shrinking further as they are dismissed from
jobs in state media, banned from most other work and secondary school,
barred from sport and blocked from a now-obsolete system designed to
protect women from violence.
<We believed that Afghan women would not go back in time. We believed
that our war against the Taliban would be won,> says Roya Dadras,
spokeswoman of the now-defunct women’s affairs ministry, which the
Taliban took over as the headquarters of its draconian morality police.
spoke to the Guardian from Australia, where she sought refuge in early
October after spending a month in hiding in Kabul.
Compounding this is the country’s dire economic situation: the
notoriously bitter Afghan winter is approaching, and with the foreign
aid that powered the economy still largely suspended, 95% of Afghans are
not getting enough to eat, the UN has warned.
The number of female activists on the streets is decreasing, and the
strain of trying to put on a brave face amid their troubles is taking a
toll on their health. Taliban members badly beat Reshmin’s sister at a
protest, leaving her right hand unusable for a month, and her skin now
suffers from painful flare-ups.>>
Read more here:
3 Nov 2021
Note from Gino d'Artali: untill approx. the end of Oct 2021 I frequently
visited the underground Afghanistan website rukhshana.com
which gave us very valuable but also info about things one needs to know
about the situation of women under the oppression of the taliban.
Unfortunatly the taliban hacked the website which made it un-accesable
WORLD POLITICS REVIEW
29 Sep 2021
<<Women and teachers demonstrate inside a private school to demand equal
education for women and girls
The Taliban’s Gender Apartheid Is a Case for the International Criminal
Last week, a group of Afghan women appealed to the United Nations,
imploring it not to recognize the Taliban’s proposed ambassador to the
global body as the representative of their country. <The UN needs to
give that seat to somebody who respects the rights of everyone in
Afghanistan,> Fawzia Koofi, a former Afghan politician and peace
negotiator, told reporters.
The group’s call was echoed by Ghulam Isaczai, the embattled ambassador
appointed by the government the Taliban ousted, in remarks he made to
the U.N. Security Council. <Women and girls in Afghanistan are pinning
their hopes and dreams on this very council and world body to help them
recover their rights to work, travel and go to school,> he said. <It
would be morally reprehensible if we do nothing and let them down.>
Isaczai is right about women’s rights and the symbolism of international
organizations’ responses to human rights violations in Afghanistan. But
the Security Council is not the only international organization capable
of playing that role, nor is recognition of the Taliban government and
representatives the only tool in the international community’s arsenal.
To be sure, international recognition of the Taliban, if it comes at
all, should come with conditions that include the protection of women
and girls. But the Security Council is not the only international body
that can be prevailed upon to take a stronger stand against the
situation in Afghanistan—or even necessarily the best one.
One international body to watch and for and for human rights groups to
target with advocacy efforts, is the International Criminal Court, or
ICC. The court’s incoming prosecutor, Karim Khan, has already indicated
that he is seized of the situation in Afghanistan as pertains to the
human rights of women. In a speech at the Global Security Forum in Doha
earlier this month, for example, Khan urged the Taliban to reconsider
their harsh edicts, citing hadiths—sayings of the Prophet Muhammad—that
express respect for women as leaders and entrepreneurs.
This is notable in two respects. First, Khan is joining a variety of
Muslim voices worldwide pushing back against the Taliban’s
interpretation of Islam on doctrinal grounds. A delegation of diplomats
from Muslim countries visited Afghanistan this month to make the similar
case that Islamic doctrine in fact supports women’s education and
Second, as the ICC’s incoming prosecutor, Khan is the arbiter of another
body of law—international criminal law—and he takes over from his
predecessor the court’s ongoing investigation into the situation in
The ICC has been investigating crimes occurring in Afghanistan since May
2003, when Afghanistan ratified the Rome Statute, the treaty
establishing the ICC’s jurisdiction over crimes committed by or in the
territory of state parties. The major focus of the investigation had
been the armed conflict between the U.S. and Afghan national government
on one side, and the Taliban as an armed group on the other. But given
the open-ended nature of the investigation, the court could also
consider evidence of atrocities committed by the post-August 2021
Taliban, including gender apartheid.>>
Read more here in which article it specifically writes about women's
2 Nov 2021
The US did more to radicalise Afghanistan than Osama bin Laden
Today Afghanistan is number one on the Global Terrorism Index, and we
helped them get there.
Author, professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College
One recurring theme in the media coverage of the US pullout from
Afghanistan is that after 20 years, trillions of dollars, and thousands
of lives lost, we left the country in the same broken state it was
before we arrived. <We accomplished nothing,> goes the pundit refrain.
But that is wrong. We invaded Afghanistan <to prevent it from becoming a
breeding ground for terrorists> – and we did not leave it as it was. We
left it worse. Far worse.
As a survivor of genocide and an academic studying the ways that
education can resuscitate broken countries and people, I have repeatedly
seen how even the most tolerant Muslims can end up being radicalised
under the right set of conditions.
I have studied radicalisation trends among my own people, Bosniaks, for
years. Bosnian Muslims have long been considered the world’s most
tolerant Muslim community. But today, a growing number of Bosniaks have
adopted Salafism – a rigid ideological thread within Islam – and hold
hardline beliefs that are in line with those of al-Qaeda, ISIL (ISIS) or
Boko Haram. Why is this happening?
Radicalisation is the result of a desperate and misguided search for a
pathway to empowerment by people starving for a sense of belonging,
recognition, and basic respect.
In 1991, Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who has since been convicted of
genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia,
warned Bosniaks: <Do not think that you will not take Bosnia and
Herzegovina to hell and the Muslim people maybe into extinction, because
if there is a war, the Muslim people will not be able to defend
And he was right. Bosniaks went to hell and back from 1992 through the
end of 1995.
We had no weapons to defend ourselves as Serbian forces invaded and,
assisted by local Serbs, swiftly occupied much of the country. The US
Europe chose to watch silently as genocide, war crimes and mass rapes
against Bosniaks unfolded before their eyes. They sat idly by even as
forces loaded Bosniaks in Srebrenica onto buses on a hot summer day in
1995 and took them to the sites of their executions. After thousands of
deaths, many more rapes and months of unbearable suffering, NATO finally
moved to end the conflict. But then, it gave half of the country –
including Srebrenica – to the Serbs, who had either committed genocide
or silently watched it happen.
The genocide, as well as the decision to reward its perpetrators with
territory, has had a radicalising effect on some Bosniaks. And my
showed me that this trend continues to this day. If Bosnian Muslims,
historically known for their tolerance and acceptance of other cultures
and religions, can radicalise, anyone can. Exposure to violence is a
critical risk factor for radicalisation. Trauma triggers an internal
transformation in a person who is desperately looking to make sense of
their pain, loss, exclusion, and shock.
I have felt this myself. After I survived a Serb artillery attack on the
Blue Bridge in my hometown of Bihac, I saw a UN car approach. I was just
years old. I believed they were coming to help. But instead of stopping
to help me and others on the bridge, they sped away. At that moment I
realised that the world does not really care about <dead Bosniaks
sprawled on the streets>. As I tried to help a girl whose face had been
blown apart by the blast, I experienced an immediate, uncontrollable
surge of anger. In the midst of that terror and trauma, I felt an
overpowering urge to do something – anything – to make sure this would
never happen again to me or the people I loved. Horrific thoughts
previously completely unknown to me flooded into my head, unbidden,
summoned by the violence I had just seen. What if we responded to our
killers by slaughtering their innocent children? Would that be
justified? Would that stop them from committing genocide against us?
I could have hated every Serb, every Christian, every American, because
they contributed to my trauma. But I did not end up taking a violent
Neither did the overwhelming number of Bosniaks who suffered the trauma
of genocide, though a few did. I was able to choose a different path out
of trauma not because of something intrinsic within myself, but because
I was lucky enough to have educational opportunities and strong family
ties. In 1996, after surviving ethnic cleansing and more than 1,000 days
under Serb siege, I emigrated to the US and had the opportunity to
continue my studies freely. My parents, teachers and mentors instilled
moral resilience in me and provided me with opportunities for engagement
– all protective factors against radicalisation. That safety net caught
me and put me on a nonviolent path. But what if I was a teen with no
choice, no support, no viable path out of trauma? I could have been
Afghans – or anyone for that matter – are no different to Bosniaks.
Every human who has been exposed to violence faces the risk of
under certain conditions.
Today, the conditions in Afghanistan check every box on the
radicalisation checklist: Afghans have suffered trauma and violence.
They feel betrayed by an external force that allegedly came to <help>
them, but ended up leaving them worse off. They live in economic
deprivation with one million children at risk of starvation. They also
have very limited educational opportunities – millions of Afghan
children are unable to go to school and have little hope for the future.
Since 2001, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians perished as a result
of US drone strikes. According to the international NGO Save the
almost 33,000 children have been killed and maimed in Afghanistan during
the past 20 years, an average of one child every five hours. As recently
as August this year, a US air attack – launched in response to the
bombing of the Islamic State Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) at the
Kabul airport that killed 182 people – killed 10 members of a family,
seven of them children. Later, it was revealed that the family that was
attacked had no ties to the <terror> group.
In the eyes of Afghans, these victims are not just statistics, and
cannot be written off as “collateral damage”. They are fathers, mothers,
daughters murdered by American bombs, or because of the American
presence. Each of those killings is a scar on an Afghan heart, and in
part explains why it was not difficult for the Taliban to take control
of the country.
Afghans never wanted us there in the first place. For them, the US has
always been just another empire in the long line of many who brought
violence and imposed corrupt leaders on them.
In my research, I have seen over and over again how when feeling
threatened by an external force, both individuals and nations turn
inward to protect themselves and demonise the outward <other.> In that
process, they often radicalise. America has been that outward <other>
for Afghans for decades.>>
Read more here: