CRY FREEDOM.net

formerly known as
Womens Liberation Front

MORE INSIGHT MORE LIFE

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

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

Gino d'Artali
chief editor
and radical feminist

 

 

  

                             

 

      

HOME

ABOUT

CONTACT

B

                                                                                                            CRYFREEDOM 2019/2020


 

Also visit Afghanistan's Women Resistence
July 7 untill August 18 2021

Part 2 will be published around 15 Sept. 2021 because the resistence is becoming bigger and spreading more in Afghanistan.


<Armed Afghan women take to streets in show of defiance against Taliban.>>
Copyright
Rukhshana Media -
 The Guardian
assembled by Gino d'Artali

 

Opinion.
Gino d'Artali
Indepth investigative journalist
1 August - 18 August 2021

Starting around the 1th. of August 2021 it seemed as if the world stood still with the taliban sweeping over Afghanistan and taking power again from the untill then ex-president Ashraf Ghani (who fled the country) and simultanously also, 15 August 2021, took in Kabul and to finalize their job drove out the US and UK forces and affiliates.
The international press had almost difficulties to keep up with the chances.
Cryfreedom.net, an online international magazine centered around the international women's day and the atrocities against women, and relying a lot, but not only, on international newspapers and broadcasters all of a sudden got a blanc concerning the cryfreedom's topics.
But you and I know that I'm a radical feminist so I refused to give up my work and moreso to started a new special titled 'Afghani women resisting' and to write opinion articles about it and about the international women's day and the atrocities against women in general because indeed it's only a matter of time before I'll need and report about it when it happens, which it does already, to Afghani women.
Lucky me and being investigative I now have 2 sources that will help me a lot to continue to inform you. They are:
- the Afghani journalist Zahra. S. Rahimi. and
- Rukhshana Media Afghanistan

Shukrah to both.

AFGHANI WOMEN RESISTING.

Afghani women resist 'again' the taliban.
The latter took over power of Afghanistan in 1995 but
it only lasted 'till 2001.
Now they think they have the total control over the
country again including the women, forcing them to obey to
the sharia,wear burqas and forbidding them again to get an education, whatever the Taliban might say.

But they are making a big mistake 'again' and
among other mistakes:
Afghan women are underestimated and by and by
they are grouping in 'resistence cells' to fight
the oppression of the taliban and to show
how resilient they can be:

I followed different international media and
below you can find the result from 18 August untill 28 August 2021:

(BY THE WAY, TO FIGHT AT THE SIDE OF THE TALIBAN, AL QAIDA AND ISKP-K (Afghanistan and affiliated with ISIS) JOINED FORCES WITH THEM). 

Gino d'Artali
Indepth investigative journalist

I'll go some time back first:

The Guardian
7 July 2021
By Emma Graham-Harrison in Kabul

<<Armed Afghan women take to streets in show of defiance against Taliban.
Women in north and central regions of country stage demonstrations as militants make sweeping gains nationwide.

Women have taken up guns in northern and central Afghanistan, marching in the streets in their hundreds and sharing pictures of themselves with assault rifles on social media, in a show of defiance as the Taliban make sweeping gains nationwide.
One of the biggest demonstrations was in central Ghor province, where hundreds of women turned out at the weekend, waving guns and chanting anti-Taliban slogans.
They are not likely to head to the frontlines in large numbers any time soon, because of both social conservatism and lack of experience. But the public demonstrations, at a time of urgent threat from the militants, are a reminder of how frightened many women are about what Taliban rule could mean for them and their families.

<There were some women who just wanted to inspire security forces, just symbolic, but many more were ready to go to the battlefields,> said Halima Parastish, the head of the women’s directorate in Ghor and one of the marchers. <That includes myself. I and some other women told the governor around a month ago that we’re ready to go and fight.>
The Taliban have been sweeping across rural Afghanistan, taking dozens of districts including in places such as northern Badakhshan province, which 20 years ago was an anti-Taliban stronghold. They now have multiple provincial capitals in effect under siege.
Even women from extremely conservative rural areas aspire to more education, greater freedom of movement and a greater role in their families, according to a new survey of a group whose voices are rarely heard. Taliban rule will take them in the opposite direction.

<No woman wants to fight, I just want to continue my education and stay far away from the violence but conditions made me and other women stand up,> said a journalist in her early 20s from northern Jowzjan, where there is a history of women fighting.>...
She said there were a few dozen women learning to use guns with her, and despite their inexperience they would have one advantage over men if they faced the Taliban. <They are frightened of being killed by us, they consider it shameful...
For conservative militants, facing women in battle can be humiliating. Isis fighters in Syria were reportedly more frightened of dying at the hands of female Kurdish forces than being killed by men. (Link to Peshmerga article by Gino d'Artali:
http://www.cryfreedom.net/peshmerga.htm
)>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/07/armed-afghan-women-take-to-streets-in-show-of-defiance-against-taliban

and here: rfel.org
November 12, 2016
By Radio Azadi

<<Afghan Women Take Up Arms Against The Taliban.
The leader of a fledgling women's militia in northern Afghanistan says dozens of volunteers have joined the fight since a handful of women recently took up arms to rebuff a Taliban attack on their community.
Women in the district of Darz-Aab, in Jowzjan Province, initially fought alongside local forces to prevent the antigovernment militants from overrunning the village of Shahtoot in late October.

Their ranks have since grown to as many as 45 women, locals say, many of whom have sold livestock to buy guns.
Fifty-three-year-old Zarmina, the wife of a local police officer who so far commands the female fighters, said she and the other women had no other choice.
<The number of police personnel was too small, so we had to take up guns alongside our husbands,> Zarmina told RFE/RL's Afghan Service. <As the Taliban attacked a police post, I put aside my scarf and fired from different places. I had 21 bullets and killed seven Taliban,> she claimed.>>
Read more here:
https://www.rferl.org/a/women-militia-springs-from-northern-afghan-firefight/28111869.html

That was some time ago but now that the taliban took over power again the Afghani women, I'm convinced,
will not give up the fight to stand up for their rights!!
To proof my point of view I've been following the international media and present you quotes and excerpts
from the most important articles followed by a link to the full article.

And no matter how fearfull they might be at this time but they are also very resilient!!

Gino d'Artali, radical feminist, founder and indepth journalist off and for www.cryfreedom.net

INTERNATIONAL NEWS 18 August UNTILL 28 AUGUST 2021:

AFGHANI WOMEN's RESISTANCE.
18 August untill 28 August 2021

Note from Gino d'Artali: Before you continue to read read this Al Jazeera article, By Mohammed Haddad, 30 Aug 2021, first:
<<Infographic, Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis. The Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, but its stunning military sweep of the capital Kabul came after months of deadly fighting across the country, leaving hundreds dead and more than half a million people internally displaced since the start of the year.
In July alone, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Afghanistan nearly doubled compared with the month before as 206,967 more people were displaced, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The number of displaced people is now more than 570,000 – nearly 80 percent of whom are women and children.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/30/infographic-afghanistans-humanitarian-crisis-interactive

Since the taliban on 15 August 2021 took power again over the untill then governing government and its president Ashraf Ghani I've been following
intensively the situation and to start this special I will you my opinion over the situation 'till today:

Gino d'Artali
investigative indepth journalist
Cry Freedom .net
29 August 2021
Opinion

Who has the Afghanistan trump card?

When the taliban swept over Afghanistan in a lightning summer offensive, took control of the capital, Kabul, on August 15, and continues the process
of forming its own government. The armed group waged a bloody armed rebellion against the United States and Afghan forces for almost two
decades, leaving thousands of civilians and security forces dead.
The group, which follows its own strict interpretation of Islamic law, was accused of carrying out atrocities against ethnic minorities and imposing
curbs on women’s rights during its last stint in power (1996-2001).

But I'd say: a job half done is a job not done at all.

And I don't mean the taliban implementing the sharia in (Islamic law) in general again, and burqas and hijabs especially aiming to rule over and
atrocities again against and over women 200 % again. What I mean is when an armed force aims to take over the power of a country it has to think and plan it very well.
And as far as I can see the taliban shot in their own foot where the national bank and banks in general are very close to a total meltdown.And even before that since months wages have not been paid leading to 30 % of 40 million of the Afghaniare near starvation. No wonder they try to flee from the taliban and leave the country. At present the taliban are begging skilled people not to leave because it desperately needs their skills but what if the taliban is ruling by terror and also has no cashflow to pay them?
And let's not forget the tribal violence all over the country, especcially between the pashtus and the sunnis?

Also and not to forget, there are now 5 players with cards in their hands: the taliban, isis, al qaida, isis k and isil-kp (affilliates of isis and isil) and not to forget: Pakistan. Because Afghanistan is very close to become a pariah of Pakistan.

Only one question remains: who'll have the trump card?
Below you'll find and can read a number of extracts and quotes I selected from articles and links to:
Al Jazeera ( Middle East ) The Women's Media Centre (USA) and The Guardian (UK):

Al Jazeera
28 August 2021
By Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska

<<International employers accused of abandoning Afghan staff.
Many international NGOs are accused of abandoning their staff as thousands of Afghans try to leave the country.

Zarina* sits in her temporary Kabul shelter and her thoughts wander to the days when she still had a chance to escape the Taliban rule. She should now be in Germany, in safety that her last employer GIZ – state-funded development agency German Corporation for International Cooperation – promised her in her contract. But 12 days after the fall of Kabul, Zarina’s hopes for evacuation to Germany are fading.
<German soldiers going to the airport refuse to pick up GIZ’s local staff. They only take those with German passports or visas. And our organisation did not process any visas for us,> says Zarina in a calm voice full of disillusionment.
<The German staff was evacuated immediately.>
Since the Taliban showed signs of overrunning Afghanistan in the first weeks of August, foreign governments have started up accelerated evacuation efforts to get their nationals and vulnerable Afghans out.
The deadline for the evacuations to end is the same as the deadline set by US President Joe Biden to withdraw foreign troops from Afghanistan 20
years after removing the Taliban in a military invasion.

‘They cannot evacuate us’

But not all foreign employers have been willing to bring their staff to safety. According to Zarina, a civil society adviser with GIZ, the organisation has left approximately 2,500 local workers in Afghanistan, vulnerable to attack from the Taliban.
<When Kabul collapsed, they started to make plans for our evacuation but it never happened. I left my hometown [Mazar-i-Sharif] one week earlier because we had a programme in Kabul. Other colleagues were transported to Kabul with a charter flight but were told that the flight fare will be deducted from their salaries,> Zarina says.
<GIZ had said they were negotiating with the Taliban to find a safe passage for us to the airport. But yesterday [Tuesday], they said that they
cannot evacuate us until end of August and that they will take us to a safe place with commercial flights later on. And that it may take months,>
says Zarina.
It’s unclear whether any commercial flights will continue operating after the August 31 deadline.
Zarina, who worked on issues such as gender equality and counterextremism, worries that she might be targeted by the Taliban.

Some international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as western journalists and activists with contacts in Afghanistan, have pushed
their governments to evacuate local colleagues and people at risk.
The Coalition for Women in Journalism managed to evacuate 90 journalists, both male and female. Media agencies that had local staff also sought to facilitate the evacuation of their employees, though with mixed results.

‘Window for evacuation slowly closing’

Local UN staff cannot expect much assistance, either. As POLITICO reports, while some 720 foreign employees have been offered evacuation, the
3,000 Afghans working for the UN have been left behind without any support.
With less than a week to go before the August 31 deadline, the window for evacuation is slowly closing and Afghans are facing growing obstacles in getting to the airport amid threats from armed groups.
Veteran journalists Oksana Chelysheva and Shahida Tulaganova have joined efforts to help their contacts out of the country, especially members of ethnic minority groups who are in particular danger from the Taliban. They have compiled a list of 33 journalists and activists and their family
members but it is still unclear if the group will manage to pass through the airport gates.
According to Chelysheva and Tulaganova, the group includes people who used to work with British government-owned BBC and US Congress-funded Radio Liberty, as well as an employee of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, a development organisation that has worked in Afghanistan for almost 40 years.
The Swedish NGO claims to have 6,000 employees in the country. All of them have been left behind.
<The woman we have on our list contacted her employer, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, asking for evacuation but they have washed their hands. Shahida Tulaganova reached an agreement with the Danes, who have been evacuating their people, that they will add [her] to their evacuation list as long as Sweden sends an official request to Denmark,> Chelysheva says.
<But it has been impossible to reach the office in Stockholm.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/27/afghan-local-staff-left-behind-as-evacuation-deadline-looms

Read also this article published online by The Guardian on 26 August 2021:

<<‘I saw children falling down’: panic and despair in Kabul as time runs out.
Faced with crowd stampedes and Taliban reprisals, even those eligible for travel to UK have begun to give up hope.>>
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/25/i-saw-children-falling-down-panic-and-despair-in-kabul-as-time-runs-out

Al Jazeera
27 August 2021
By Osama Bin Javaid

<<Taliban planning ‘inclusive caretaker gov’t’ in Afghanistan.
Taliban sources tell Al Jazeera the government will include leaders from all ethnicities and tribal backgrounds.

The Taliban says it is planning an inclusive caretaker government in Afghanistan after the group toppled the Western-backed administration in a
stunning sweep earlier this month.
Taliban sources told Al Jazeera that the caretaker government will include leaders from all ethnicities and tribal backgrounds in the country.
Nearly a dozen names are being considered to be part of the new government, sources said. The duration of the caretaker government is unclear at the moment.
Afghanistan’s ethnic diversity has been at the centre of politics and conflict in the country, with no single ethnic group enjoying a decisive majority in the country of 40 million people.
The Pashtuns are Afghanistan’s biggest ethnic group, making up more than 42 percent of the population. The predominantly Sunni Muslim community speaks the Pashto language and has dominated Afghan politics since the 18th century.

Taliban sources also told Al Jazeera the caretaker government will have an <amir-ul momineen> (commander of the faithful) to lead the Islamic
Emirate of Afghanistan.
They said a supreme leadership council has been convened to decide the form of the future government and nominate ministers.
Key ministries up for nominations include the judiciary, internal security, defence, foreign affairs, finance, information and a special assignment for
Kabul’s affairs.
Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar is in the capital, Kabul, while Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar, has travelled from Kandahar for the initial consultations on government formation, the sources said.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/27/exclusive-taliban-plans-inclusive-caretaker-govt-in-afghanistan

Opinion Gino d'Artali: first of all at present no women are included! And what really does not sound promising for the safety and lives of women are
<amir-ul momineen> (commander of the faithful).

Al Jazeera
27 August 2021

<<From: The Bottom Line
Should the US have stayed in Afghanistan longer?
Critics of the hasty exit from Afghanistan warn about long-term implications for the United States and its partners.

Every year for 20 years, United States officials justified the war in Afghanistan as worthy and winnable. But after the deadline to withdraw was made, the same officials watched in shock and awe as the Taliban retook their country within days.

Former national security adviser John Bolton and other conservative critics of the Joe Biden administration argue that the US should have stayed in
Afghanistan indefinitely, and warn against making any deals with the Taliban.

Host Steve Clemons asks Bolton what the US could ever hope to achieve with a perpetual presence in Afghanistan.>>
Watch the Al Jazeera video here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/program/the-bottom-line/2021/8/27/should-the-us-have-stayed-in-afghanistan-longer

Al Jazeera
26 August 2021
By Nadima

<<‘I was born here, I’ll be buried here’: In Afghanistan to stay.
Why one Afghan woman refuses to leave her home – even in the face of fear and uncertainty, as the Taliban resumes control.

On August 15, 2021, the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul, and retook control of the country after nearly 20 years. Tens of thousands of people have since fled, fearing a possible return to the harsh rule of the 1990s, when women were not allowed to go to school or work. But some are determined to stay. Thirty-eight-year-old Nadima’s family fled Afghanistan when she was a baby. As an adult, she returned. Now, despite fears and uncertainty, she refuses to leave again. This is her story in her own words.
I spoke to my cousins who are here in Afghanistan and have little girls; they are really scared. It made me very emotional, but I am OK.

I am not going anywhere.
I am not going to f*****g leave under any circumstances.

I was born here, I will be buried here. I will tell you why. This pattern of running away has to be broken. I cannot speak for everybody. I tried to tell some of my foreign Afghans that we are here to stay and they got so upset that they blocked me. It made me feel very alone.
My parents left Afghanistan in 1984 when I was one years old. They ran away, desperately in pain. My mum has told me stories of how she went
through the mountains, running to Pakistan, with dogs running after them and she had blisters on her feet. They did not eat for days. They were
scared, they even got robbed.
I was a baby back then, crying to be breastfed and my mum did not know what to do to comfort me. I could never relate to the stories my mum
shared of that time, even though I could understand and empathise. I would get sad for my mum because she would be so emotional.
It is hard to believe she was telling me these stories just 10 years ago. The first time she shared her experience of fleeing to Pakistan was when we first emigrated to Canada in 1999. We had been complaining about our move from Dubai, which had been our home for 14 years.
I was shocked to learn the details of all that my parents had had to endure. I was 16 then.
My mum smiled and said, <You guys are lucky, you came in a plane, you’re getting food. Do you guys know my story, how I immigrated?>
And she was sad that her home was breaking once more. <I’m tired of moving over and over again,> she said, telling my dad she will never leave
Canada again. Now, I get to witness and experience what she went through all those years.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/8/26/i-was-born-here-ill-be-buried-here-in-afghanistan-to-stay
On the same page there's also an Al Jazeera audio.

Al Jazeera
26 August 2021

<<At least 13 killed in two blasts outside Kabul airport.
Taliban official says children among the dead, several other people wounded in explosions in Afghan capital.

At least 13 people have been killed in two powerful explosions outside Kabul’s international airport, amid a huge and chaotic evacuation effort from Afghanistan.
A <complex attack> on Thursday at the airport in Afghanistan’s capital caused a number of US and civilian casualties, the Pentagon said.
A Taliban official and Russian officials confirmed at least 13 people were killed in the explosions. The Taliban official said children were among the
dead and that several other people were wounded in the blasts.
The city’s main Emergency Hospital said on Twitter that at least 60 wounded people were transferred to their facility so far.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said one blast occurred near the airport’s Abbey Gate and the other close to the nearby Baron Hotel. Two US officials said at least one of the explosions appeared to be from a suicide bombing.
<We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties,> Kirby said on Twitter. <We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate.>

Sources told Al Jazeera that tens of thousands of people had been waiting outside the Abbey Gate earlier in the day. The explosions came after US officials and allies had warned people not to come to the area around Hamid Karzai International due to the threat of an attack.
US officials strongly believe the Afghan affiliate of the ISIL (ISIS), known as the Islamic State Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), was behind the
attack, a source familiar with congressional briefings on Afghanistan said.
A second US government source familiar with intelligence activities said that while the US government is still investigating, the airport attack has <all the hallmarks> of an ISKP attack. ISKP is opposed by the US and the Taliban.
Russian officials said two suicide bombers and gunmen had targeted crowds massing near the Kabul airport.
There were chaotic scenes outside the Emergency Hospital as dozens of cars and ambulances brought in the wounded including the elderly and
children.
Family members seeking information about their relatives who were reportedly wounded in the blasts were waiting anxiously outside the hospital.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/26/explosion-at-kabul-airport-appears-to-be-suicide-attack-official

The Guardian
25 August 2021
Dan Sabbagh Defence and security editor

<<Afghanistan: 2,000 people who worked for UK still to be airlifted
Unidentified number of rights activists, judges, LGBTQ+ advocates and others also waiting to get out, sources say.

Two thousand Afghan interpreters and others who worked for the British government are still to be airlifted out of Kabul by the RAF, defence sources said, as the emergency evacuation reaches its final stages amid rising fears of a terrorist attack.
There also remain an unidentified number of <special cases> – human rights activists, judges, LGBTQ+ advocates and others – placed on a special list by the Foreign Office waiting to get out, plus a small number of single-nationality Britons.
A total of 10,291 people have been evacuated by the RAF since the fall of Kabul, including 6,380 Afghans and 2,570 Britons and their dependants, 341 embassy staff plus citizens of 38 other countries, according to official figures.
The Ministry of Defence would not be drawn on how long the evacuation would last – although defences sources suggested it would be as little as 24 to 36 hours to allow the British military to pack up, followed by the US before a final 31 August deadline.
Brig Dan Blanchford, commander Joint Forces Operations, said: <Conditions on the ground remain very difficult at the moment with harrowing stories of families and individuals having to fight through some pretty desperate conditions to get to the airport.>

A little over 1,000 British paratroopers remain on the ground, who had <seen and witnessed some truly heartbreaking scenes>, Blanchford added. He said the RAF was able to fly up to 2,000 people in a 24-hour period.
UK ministers have repeatedly said it would not be possible to evacuate everybody listed as eligible for resettlement, with Afghans facing growing
difficulties in making the journey to the hotel processing centre near the airport, which is surrounded by a dangerous crush of people.
Insiders added that they believed there was a <high risk of a terrorist attack>, with particular concerns over the risk of a suicide boming from the
local Isis group, given the large numbers of people present. Extra security measures, including concrete barriers, had been installed around the
processing centre.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/25/afghanistan-2000-people-who-worked-for-uk-still-to-be-airlifted-from-kabul

The Guardian
24 August 2021
Suzanne Wrack

<<Female athletes from Afghanistan leave Kabul after being granted Australian visas. Group of 77 included Afghanistan women’s football team
Players suffered beatings and had to pass Taliban checkpoints.

A group of 77 Afghan athletes and family members, including members of the Afghanistan women’s national football team, youth team and women’s
football officials have left Kabul airport on a plane bound for Australia but there is still a long way to go to ensure the safety of many female athletes still at risk in the country.
In a furious 10-day period the players’ union Fifpro, a team of human rights lawyers and other NGOs worked around the clock with the former team
coaches Kelly Lindsey and Haley Carter and the team founder and former captain Khalida Popal pursuing every avenue available to get them on
evacuation lists, secure the players visas and get into the airport perimeter. They are continuing their efforts to ensure the safety of more athletes.
Players were forced to take their chances running past Taliban checkpoints, some suffering beatings and having to avoid gunfire to reach the relative safety of the airport.

The Australian team of the former Socceroo Craig Foster and the human rights lawyer and former Olympian Nikki Dryden – who were critical in ensuring the safety of the detained Bahrain footballer Hakeem al-Araibi in 2019 – and the director of Human Rights for All, Alison Battisson, were some of the many that swung into action and Australia quickly became the most viable escape route as Australian visas were secured for all athletes and the Australian government called for them to report to the airport.
<We are grateful to the Australian government for evacuating a large number of women footballers and athletes from Afghanistan,> said a Fifpro
statement. <These young women, both as athletes and activists, have been in a position of danger and on behalf of their peers around the world we thank the international community for coming to their aid. <We would like to pay tribute to the tireless, round-the-clock work of many people including Khalida Popal, Kelly Lindsey, Nikki Dryden, Alison Battison, Haley Carter and Craig Foster in helping them to secure safe passage out of
Afghanistan.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/24/female-athletes-from-afghanistan-leave-kabul-airport-after-being-granted-australian-visas

The Guardian
23 August 2021
Ashifa Kassam

<<‘So scared’: woman describes effort to save relatives in Afghanistan.
Disappointment as much as fear and dread felt by members of Afghan diaspora as they try to get family out.

A UK-based Afghan woman whose relatives worked with US and Nato forces and international humanitarian organisations has described a frantic effort
from afar to try to protect her family amid fears they will be targeted by the Taliban.
<I haven’t slept for a week or so … There are tremendous threats against their lives,> said the woman, whose mother remains in Afghanistan along with seven of her siblings. <I cannot tell you how much I have cried in the last four or five days. Every single day.>
It is an undertaking echoed across the Afghan diaspora and beyond as people scramble to save loved ones amid reports of the Taliban going door-to- door as they search for people who work with the former Afghan government or western countries.
<It’s not just my family. It’s millions of Afghans who are suffering,> said the woman, who worked for the Guardian in the past, and whose name is
not being published in order to protect her family.
One of her brothers is a military officer who worked in the intelligence department. Another worked for US and Nato forces and most recently was part of the cabinet of the former president Ashraf Ghani. A third adopted brother is a pilot, who spent the last 20 years working with the coalition forces. Most of them are in hiding in Kabul, as is a sister in the country’s eastern Khost province. She spent years working for the humanitarian organisations, USAid and Care International.
Efforts to have them evacuated have so far proven futile. <We’re applying to every site that we can, but nothing,> the woman said. <No responses, no news. They’re stuck.>

The fragile situation has taken a toll on her elderly mother, exacerbating an existing heart condition. <My mother is worried to death. I have two
nieces, nine and 14 years old, who are in the house with her.>

The Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan has put women in the country on edge, their concerns heightened by reports of some universities being
closed to women and gunmen entering workplaces to order women to return home.
Along with fear and dread is a profound sense of disappointment. For two decades, the woman’s siblings had risked their lives in the hope of carving out a country that would defy all that the Taliban stood for – only to watch that hope evaporate in a matter of days.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/23/woman-effort-to-save-relatives-afghanistan-afghan-diaspora

Al Jazeera
23 August 2021
Melissa Fung
<<REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK
Women's Rights.

<<‘I am very afraid’: Women on the front lines of a new Afghanistan>
Reporter Mellissa Fung reflects on what’s at stake for women under Taliban rule.
This was not the story we set out to tell.
We had been investigating the killings of women in Afghanistan since the United States signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February 2020.
Such killings have been rising, with record numbers documented by the United Nations: 219 women killed in the first six months of this year,
compared with 138 during the same period in 2020.
But it seemed very few people had been held accountable for these murders.
In July, we spent two weeks in the Afghan capital, Kabul, learning about the lives of those who had been killed, talking to women living in fear and trying to get answers from the authorities.
But as we were putting our story together, the country unravelled, the Afghan president fled, and the Taliban took over the presidential palace.
The messages from friends started coming in on the morning of Sunday, August 15.

<The Taliban have taken over our neighbourhood.> <They are in our mosque, telling us to wear the hijab if we go out.><I am at home. I can hear
gunfire. We just pray.>
Their desperation was palpable. Meanwhile, Taliban leaders were officially assuring the world that there would be a peaceful transition.

Women in charge of their destinies.

I first came to know Afghanistan in 2006, embedding with the Canadian forces in Kandahar five years after the deployment of NATO troops there. I
always wanted to know how the women were doing, since the war had been sold to us with the shiny promise of <liberating> them from the Taliban’s brutal rule. Over the years, I witnessed tentative girls I met growing into assertive young women, and assertive young women maturing into confident professionals – women who knew they had control over their own destiny.> >>
Read the article and watch the video she made here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/8/23/i-am-very-afraid-women-on-the-front-lines-of-a-new-afghanistan

The Guardian
22 August 2021
Sippi Azarbaijani-Moghaddam

<<Progress was always fitful. Many Afghan women felt unsafe before the Taliban’s arrival.
Misogyny continued to run through society behind the ‘new Afghanistan’ facade.

I am thinking about Farkhunda. You may have read about her six years ago and felt outrage at the Afghan men who killed her. All that represents
Farkhunda now is a forlorn clenched fist emerging from a block of stone, silently aimed at the sky near the place where she was publicly tortured and murdered in 2015, a popular shrine in Kabul where pigeons circle and hawkers and beggars approach crowds of pilgrims. Her “sin” was burning pages of the Qur’an, a fake accusation aimed at her by the vendor of charms whom she had criticised.
Farkhunda’s fate should also tell us that brutal corporal punishment meted out by the mob on religious grounds, especially to a woman, is not just the domain of the Taliban. More disturbingly, it should also tell us that even in the <new Afghanistan> there remained a troubling undercurrent of
misogyny in some quarters of society. On that day, Afghan security forces stood by and watched as people tried to rip the young woman apart. I
suspect the frustration of decades of being told to grudgingly accept women’s rights in public was unleashed on one small crumpled body.
I was not surprised. In the many years I worked across Afghanistan, I fought to meet women, fought to have projects with women, fought to employ women, protected women, listened to broken women... I was almost lynched, kidnapped, shoved around, verbally abused, belittled, sidelined, sexually harassed and manhandled on more occasions than I care to remember, by Afghans and “internationals”. All for being a woman in a man’s world. All because women’s issues were considered irrelevant.

Farkhunda was probably emboldened by all the rhetoric on women’s rights and thought she was in a brave new era where she could champion the
rights of people being taken for a ride by a religious hawker. She thought she had a voice. She thought she was safe. But she touched a nerve and
didn’t understand that she was still in dangerous territory.
People gleefully recorded the torture inflicted on the poor girl. If anyone has ever wondered about the atmosphere of medieval witch burnings, they would have felt it on that day. The government had to arrest people. They could not turn a blind eye to this egregious abuse and killing of a citizen.
Some men were arrested but most were eventually and quietly squirrelled out of prison as powerful men interceded on their behalf.
The struggle for women’s rights will not stop in Afghanistan for decades, and maybe centuries, to come. Through all the years that international
bodies congratulated themselves for gains in women’s rights, the horrors faced by Farkhunda loomed in the shadows, just beyond the edge of the
award ceremony for a women’s rights defender or a project to teach girls basic skills.

The assistance allocated to women has never been enough. The very few women seen by westerners in their projects may have been safe, but the
non-literate woman who earned money at the sewing project would get a fist in the face. The young girl who got into the police academy would be
told to empty bins, make tea for the men and make her body available for the sexual pleasure of men. The woman who was put in prison for adultery, in the reign of Hamid Karzai or Ashraf Ghani, would be terrified of leaving prison in a northern province because she feared for her life and for her children’s welfare because there are no well-paid jobs for illiterate women in rural hinterlands.
I was one of the many Afghans and foreigners who tried to make sure that millions of girls would go to schools and, if lucky, high schools and
possibly university. But I had to face the truth that they would struggle to find jobs because the economy is still dominated by male-run institutions.
Many of those girls would have come out of school, married and having forgotten what little they learned.
Women and children bore the brunt of bad policies, corruption, lack of rule of law and pervasive conservatism.
Even last year I was fighting with educated young Afghan men in my victim assistance project. I wanted the widows we were helping to receive
assistance in their own right. The argument from them was that any male relative, however distant, was a better choice because a grieving woman
was <not in her right mind>. Some even wheeled out the old excuse that women are naqes ul aql, according to their interpretation of Islam, roughly translated as having half a brain.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/22/p-was-always-fitful-many-afghan-women-felt-unsafe-before-the-talibans-arrival

The Guardian
22 August 2021
Emma Graham-Harrison

<<The first time the Taliban took Kabul, 25 years ago they tortured and killed former President Mohammad Najibullah, dragged his body behind a
truck through the streets, then hung it from a lamp-post. Last week, with Kabul surrounded and a second victory almost inevitable, the Taliban
ordered their troops to hold back from entering the city, to ensure a peaceful transfer of power. When they did march in, it was to a soundtrack of
their commanders offering an <amnesty> for anyone who had opposed them over the last two decades.
They promised this so many times in the week that followed that at one point, asked again about the commitment to bury the past, a spokesman
snapped at journalists: <Do you [want an] amnesty statement to be issued every day?>
Last Tuesday brought the extraordinary spectacle of the Taliban’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid taking to the stage at the briefing room of a purpose
-built Government Media and Information Office. The previous week, when they were still insurgents, the group had assassinated its director.
A man who had not shown his face for two decades was accepting questions from the assembled Afghan and international media, broadcast live
around the world, with no filters or restrictions.

His talking points were clear. The amnesty (again), and a commitment that aimed to address western governments’ most abiding fears that
Afghanistan would not revert to hosting groups that planned terror attacks aimed at the west.
Foreign aid organisations were urged to stay, and for women there was the promise they would enjoy their rights <within the limits of Islam>,
although he sidestepped further questions on what those limits might be. Mujahid sounded as though he represented a different group from the
secretive, isolated fighters who swept to power and formed a pariah government at the end of the last century. Then they forced women out of
education and most work, ordered them to wear the burqa and brought in punishments including amputation and stoning.
Now he was taking questions from a female journalist wearing just a headscarf on her head. Yet for all Mujahid’s smoothing words, at the airport just 15 minutes’ drive away, crowds were still mobbing the gates, so frightened of their new leaders they wanted to leave with little more than the clothes on their backs.

The Taliban have for decades targeted not only the military and police, but government officials, journalists, human rights workers and others whose vision of Afghanistan differs from theirs.
So there is a broad section of people across the country who might be covered by that <amnesty> offer but are now living in real fear for their lives.
They knew the Taliban’s long track record, and had seen reports from areas they had captured in recent weeks and months, heard from relatives in
cities that fell a few days earlier, about atrocities, intimidation, sharp curbs on women’s rights.
In May there was a mass execution of soldiers as they tried to surrender in the north, captured on video. In the south the next month, Taliban
militants carried out door-to-door searches and reprisal killings. For years now in rural areas controlled by the Taliban, many girls’ schools were
ordered to end lessons at the age of 12, and women were expected to wear the burqa.
When they took over cities more recently some universities were closed to women, others reopened but with classes segregated by gender. Gunmen ordered women home from their work in banks, saying a male relative could replace them. In some southern provinces, including Ghazni, music was
banned last week, Afghan media reported.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/22/taliban-offer-restraint-but-all-the-signs-suggest-that-its-only-for-show

Al Jazeera
Dalia Mogahed
Research Director at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
22 August 2021

<<Is the Taliban’s treatment of women really inspired by Sharia?
And what does the current debate on the Taliban and women’s rights tell us about Western (mis)perceptions of Muslims?

According to Human Rights Watch, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group whose stated goal was to create a state based on the
biblical 10 commandments, kidnapped and killed tens of thousands of people in the 1990s and 2000s.
Their practice of abducting boys to train them as soldiers and girls to force them into sexual slavery has been documented and put before the
International Criminal Court in The Hague, resulting in an arrest warrant for Joseph Kony, the group’s founder, along with four of his senior leaders, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Although according to its leadership, the armed group was a Christian army acting in God’s way, few op-eds have had to be penned arguing that the LRA’s actions are not in congruence with normative Christianity. It is just (rightly) assumed.
Unfortunately, a completely different set of rules is applied when it comes to Muslims. The commentary surrounding the most recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is but one example.
Reports have emerged that Afghan women are being forced to marry Taliban fighters, quit their jobs and schooling, as well as endure public flogging. Rather than call for expanding asylum programmes or even exerting political pressure on the Taliban to reform, right-wing politicians in Europe and the United States have instead weaponised the ongoing instability in this war-torn country to score political points against their Muslim citizens and immigration proponents.
As Muslim citizens of Western nations, we have yet again found ourselves defending our community and faith against those wishing to exploit this
tragedy to propagate Islamophobic tropes – the same tropes that were used to justify invading Afghanistan two decades ago.

We are now, as we were then, expected to clarify, condemn and distinguish our faith from the actions of a militant group claiming to act in its name, an unfair and exhausting demand not made of our Christian compatriots, regarding any armed group or war criminal claiming to act in Christ’s name.
Still, despite the double standard, we must take these moments as opportunities to educate. So let me be clear: The normative teachings of Islam
are antithetical to the Taliban’s reported treatment of women.The teachings of Islam, in all their diversity, encourage a woman’s spiritual aspirations absent an intercessor between her and God and define her
identity as first and foremost a servant of The Devine, whose rights constitute a sacred covenant. In seventh-century Arabia, Islam’s advance took a woman from being treated as property to a fully independent agent who had control over her financial decisions and possessions and who had the right to choose to marry and divorce.
What about women’s employment? From the first generation of believers, women served as everything, from medical workers to warriors. For example, Rufaida Al-Aslamia was a surgeon recognised by the Prophet for her care for the wounded, her training of other women as nurses, and her role in establishing the first field hospital for the community. Nusaybah bint Ka’ab was known as the <Prophet’s shield> for defending him in battle, even when many men fled.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/8/22/is-the-talibans-treatment-of-women-really-inspired-by-sharia

Al Jazeera
21 August 2021
Belen Fernandez
Contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.

<<Women’s rights and the US’s ‘civilising’ mission in Afghanistan.
The US imperial endeavours in Afghanistan and anywhere else in the world have never benefitted women and their rights.

In July, former United States president and war criminal turned portrait artist George W Bush bewailed the impending withdrawal of US troops from
Afghanistan, nearly 20 years after he ordered the invasion of the country.
Afghan women and girls, Bush warned, would suffer “unspeakable harm” on account of the American departure – an ironic assessment, to say the
least, coming from the man who kicked off a <war on terror> that has thus far killed more than 47,000 civilians (including women) in Afghanistan alone and displaced millions.
To be sure, the plight of Afghan women at the hands of the Taliban has from the get-go offered a handy pretext for US military devastation.

Long before the 9/11 attacks even transpired, US politicians, celebrities and self-declared feminist activists had been pushing for a <liberation> of
women in Afghanistan that conveniently dovetailed with imperial geostrategic interests. As if <B-52 carpet bombing>- to borrow the New York Times’ terminology – has ever been good for female humans, much less any other organism.
In November 2001, the month after the launch of Bush’s invasion, then-First Lady Laura Bush charitably took to US radio waves to assure listeners
that the <fight against terrorism> was simultaneously a <fight for the rights and dignity of women>, and that the plight of Afghan women and
children was a <matter of deliberate human cruelty carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control>.
Never mind that the same thing can be said of invading US forces who carry out <matters> like bombarding a Doctors Without Borders hospital in
Kunduz with a Lockheed AC-130 gunship, incinerating patients and decapitating medical staff.
In her radio address, the first lady went on to righteously affirm that <civilised people throughout the world are speaking out in horror, not only
because our hearts break for the women and children in Afghanistan but also because, in Afghanistan, we see the world the terrorists would like to
impose on the rest of us>.>>
Read more here (also about the violation of womens rights and atrocities in Argentina, Palestine and Lebanon, all carried out with a carte blanche
from the USA):
https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/8/21/white-women-washing-the-uss-civilising-mission-in-afghanistan

Al Jazeera
20 August 2021
Emma Graham-Harrison

<<Desperate crowds, empty flights and rage in Afghanistan at governments who failed to plan.
The US and UK say evacuations are gathering pace, but there seems to be little sign of that in Kabul.

This is the reality of what has unfolded in Afghanistan this week, as the Taliban has returned to govern the country after 20 years.
For Afghans who have spent all that time fighting within Afghan organisations for the values the west claimed to promote, including democracy and women’s rights, there is even less chance of getting out. They have no foreign organisations to sponsor the visas they need to flee.
I am devastated. It is failure upon failure, said Shaharzad Akbar, who leads the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
Her organisation has spearheaded the fight against both Taliban and government abuses for two decades, and some of its staff have paid the
ultimate price; several of its activists have been killed in targeted assassinations by the militants in recent years.
Not a single one had been evacuated from Kabul yet, she said. Some have been offered flights, and tried to reach the airport, some – including elderly and disabled people – have been twice, to no avail.
They were now poised, Akbar said, in a horrible balance of fear: terrified of staying, and terrified of the consequences of trying to leave.

<Right now when colleagues have flights, I have to convince them to go to the airport. They have tried once, twice and they have failed and so they dread going again,> she said. And the journey is only getting harder, as the Taliban consolidate control of the city.
<Female heads of household, women travelling alone, they are getting more and more harassment.>
Inside and outside Kabul there is growing rage and despair at the failures of a crippled evacuation programme that in its current state risks leaving most of the most vulnerable Afghans behind.
<What’s happening is a fiasco. We should all hang our heads in shame,> said Rachel Reid, a human rights consultant working with Afghan
organisations.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/20/desperate-crowds-empty-flights-and-rage-in-afghanistan-at-governments-who-failed-to-plan

Al Jazeera
19 August 2021

<<From: 101 East
Afghanistan: No Justice for Women
With the Taliban back in power, 101 East investigates the fight for justice for Afghanistan’s women.
The Taliban has seized control and fears for the women of Afghanistan are rising.
In recent years, women have been assassinated across the country, targeted by those who believe they should stay at home and stay silent. Dozens of female students were killed by bomb blasts at their school; judges and journalists shot by gunmen; activists killed by car bombs.
With no one held accountable for many of the deadly attacks, the killings are a stark warning of what the future could hold. 101 East investigates the fight for justice for Afghanistan’s women as the Taliban returns to power.>>
Watch a video here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/program/101-east/2021/8/19/afghanistan-no-justice-for-women

Al Jazeera
20 August 2021

<<Taliban conducting ‘targeted door-to-door visits’: UN document.
Confidential UN threat assessment report says group making door-to-door visits of people who worked with US and NATO forces.

Excerpt from the above article:<<Women have also been assured their rights will be respected, and that the Taliban will be <positively different>
from their brutal 1996-2001 rule.
But with thousands of people still trying to flee the capital on board evacuation flights, the intelligence report for the UN confirmed the fears of many.
The Taliban has been conducting <targeted door-to-door visits> of people who worked with US and NATO forces, according to the confidential
document by the UN’s threat assessment consultants seen by the AFP news agency.
The report, written by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, said the group’s fighters were also screening people on the way to Kabul airport.
<They are targeting the families of those who refuse to give themselves up, and prosecuting and punishing their families ‘according to Sharia law’,> Christian Nellemann, the group’s executive director, told AFP.
<We expect both individuals previously working with NATO and US forces and their allies, alongside with their family members to be exposed to
torture and executions.>

‘Lives under threat’

The Taliban has denied such accusations in the past and has several times issued statements saying fighters were barred from entering private
homes.
It also insists women and journalists have nothing to fear under their new rule, although several media workers have reported being thrashed with
sticks or whips when trying to record some of the chaos seen in Kabul in recent days.
Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from Kabul, said the UN report contradicted the group’s assurances.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/20/taliban-un-report-afghanistan-door-to-door-revenge

Al Jazeera
20 August 2021

<<As Taliban returns, Afghan influencers go dark on social media.
Prominent social media influencers go dark or flee, while residents and activists scramble to scrub their digital lives.

Sadiqa Madadgar’s social media looked much like any other successful young Afghan influencer’s until the Taliban stormed into Kabul and upended her dreams.
The return of the group has sent a shockwave through Afghanistan’s social media. Prominent influencers have gone dark or fled, while residents and activists are scrambling to scrub their digital lives.
A former contestant on the reality singing competition <Afghan Star>, Madadgar amassed a huge following with her stunning vocals and down to
earth, girl-next-door persona.
A devout Muslim who wears a headscarf, she spent her days uploading videos that transfixed Afghan youngsters, winning her 21,200 subscribers on YouTube and 182,000 followers on Instagram.
In one video, she giggles as she struggles to cut open a watermelon. On another, the 22 year old is singing a haunting folk tune in a cafe while a
friend plays guitar.
On a recent trip to the city of Kandahar – the Taliban’s birthplace – she filmed herself sharing a pizza with girlfriends.
On Saturday, Madadgar posted her first overtly political post on Instagram.

<I don’t like to express my pain online but I’m sick of this,> she wrote. <My heart is in pieces when I look at the soil, my homeland which is being
destroyed slowly before my eyes.>
The following day, the Taliban seized Kabul, and Madadgar stopped posting.
Millions of Afghan youngsters – in particular women and religious minorities – fear that what they once put online could now put their lives in danger.
Few can forget the first time the Taliban imposed its ultra-conservative version of Islamic law on Afghanistan between 1996-2001.
Women were excluded from public life, girls could not attend school, entertainment was banned and brutal punishments were imposed, such as
stoning to death for adultery.
Ayeda Shadab was a fashion icon for many young Afghan women with 290,000 followers on Instagram and 400,000 on TikTok. Each day, she would
model the latest outfits that were stocked in her upscale Kabul boutique.

In one of the most recent videos from her range, she posed in an asymmetrical sheer ball gown as Dua Lipa’s infectious dance track <Levitating>
played in the background.
But she had no illusions about what a Taliban regime would mean for fashionable women entrepreneurs like her.
<If the Taliban take Kabul, people like me will no longer be safe,> she told German broadcaster ZDF in a recent interview. <Women like me who
don’t wear a veil, who work, they can’t accept them.>
She was so terrified of the Taliban’s return that she had to flee, telling followers recently that she had relocated to Turkey.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/20/afghanistan-social-media-influencers-taliban-instagram-youtube


The Guardian
19 August 2021
By Lizzy Davies

<<Ex-Afghanistan women’s captain tells footballers: burn kits and delete photos.
Cycling federation and others echo Khalida Popal’s call for precautions as country falls under Taliban rule.

High-profile sportswomen in Afghanistan have been urged to wipe their social media presence and in some cases burn their kit as supporters scramble to protect them from the Taliban.
Speaking from Copenhagen, Khalida Popal, the former captain of the Afghanistan women’s football team, said female players should take urgent steps to remove all trace of their sporting history.
<Today I’m calling them and telling them, take down their names, remove their identities, take down their photos for their safety. Even I’m telling
them to burn down or get rid of your national team uniform,> she told Reuters.
<And that is painful for me, for someone as an activist who stood up and did everything possible to achieve and earn that identity as a women’s
national team player. To earn that badge on the chest, to have the right to play and represent our country, how much we were proud.>
A source close to the country’s cycling federation echoed the advice, saying female members had been told to stay at home and avoid posting on
social media at all cost.

<At the moment [they are] safe but it is my expectation that within some months, like one or two months, I’m sure that nobody can guarantee their life. These are real dangers,> the source said. <The freedoms they had to ride a bike will be impossible … They are shocked and they are afraid.>
The speed with which the Taliban had taken over control of Afghanistan had scuppered any chance the women might have had to flee, the source
added. <Everything changed in 48 hours. Nobody was able to escape. If it [had been] a week or something, we would have sent them to neighbouring countries but it all happened on the same day, the airport is closed, everywhere you see terrorists with guns.>
The worries came as some members of a girls’ robotics team – Afghanistan’s first – arrived in Qatar after leaving Kabul on a commercial flight,
according to a statement on Wednesday by the team’s founder, the Afghan tech entrepreneur Roya Mahboob.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/19/ex-afghan-womens-football-captain-tells-players-burn-kits-delete-photos

The Guardian
19 August 2021
Women report Afghanistan is supported by
Humanity United.
Women report Afghanistan
Afghanistan
A reporter in Kabul

<<As I walk around Kabul, the streets are empty of women.

A few days ago the capital was full of women going about their business. Now, the few that remain walk fast and full of fear.
Four days after the quick and unexpected invasion of Kabul by the Taliban, the streets of the Afghan capital are almost entirely devoid of women.
The few women who are on the streets are wearing the traditional blue burqa, Islamic garb that, while customary in Afghanistan, was not used as
widely in Kabul until now. Many women are dressed in the long black clothes commonly worn in the Middle East and Arab nations.
All the women are accompanied by a male guardian – a requirement that the Taliban has imposed on women across the country. Many of these
women are out grocery shopping; a simple task that has become extremely dangerous for them.
<All the women I see are accompanied by a male guardian – a requirement that the Taliban has imposed on women>
It is hard to believe that only a few days ago, Kabul streets were full of women going about their business, despite the encroaching security risk as the Taliban swept across Afghanistan. Now, they walk fast and full of fear, their eyes constantly darting for any potential aggressions from the
Taliban fighters who patrol the once vibrant streets.

Since the Taliban’s occupation of Afghanistan, all educational centres, schools, universities, government buildings and private offices have been
closed. At about 10am, I decide to go into Kabul after staying at home for three days. With my parent’s permission, I take a taxi. The driver tells me that since the Taliban took over Kabul, the number of their female customers has decreased. “Most of the women and girls who used our services are those who live alone. Since they don’t have a male guardian, now they can’t even leave the house,” he says.
On the city streets, there are no law or security officials; no police or traffic authorities who once provided a semblance of order. One resident of
Kabul says he witnessed the Taliban driving police cars against the traffic in the middle of the road at high speed.
Pol e Sorkh, an area famous as the cultural centre of the young and educated generation of Afghanistan, is no longer lively. Roads and pavements are empty, except for a few sad and depressed-looking men who walk the streets out of boredom.

Laila Haidari, the owner of Taj Begum restaurant, wrote on her social media page: <The world changed for us for ever. Taj Begum is no more.> She, along with many businesswomen, closed her restaurant after the fall of Kabul. Another popular restaurant a few hundred metres away, also run by women, is closed. Those restaurants and cafes in Kabul that remain open have no female employees or customers. All beauty salons across the city are closed, but male barbershops are open.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/aug/19/as-i-walk-around-kabul-the-streets-are-empty-of-women

The Guardian
19 August 2021
Global development is supported by
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
By Tracy Mc Veigh

<<Joe Biden delaying the exit of American forces from Afghanistan by just a month could have made a significant difference to the outcome of
continuing peace talks with the Taliban leadership, according to one of the negotiators.
Fawzia Koofi, an Afghan politician and women’s rights activist, said the chaotic withdrawal undermined all leverage that the US and the Afghan
government had had with the Taliban at the talks in Qatar.<Afghanistan is the victim of back-to-back mistakes,> she said.
From her home in Kabul, Koofi, who has been the subject of two assassination attempts, said: <President Biden could have delayed this to wait for a political settlement – for even just another month, just get the political settlement first. They could have come to a deal.> She said the abrupt departure had needlessly put many more people at risk.
<We all want international forces to leave>, she said. <It’s not sustainable or logical from any point of view to have a foreign force protecting your country, but this is so untimely for the US to have chosen now, in the middle of negotiations and before we get a settlement.
<If the Americans were to stick to their political leverage, pressing the Taliban and using all sources of pressure against them, then I think they
would have come to a negotiated settlement.>

She said the lifting of UN travel sanctions, enabling the Taliban leadership to be in Doha for talks, had also been poorly managed and had allowed
them to garner support. <They used the travel to strengthen their own position; they went to China, Russia, Iran [and] Turkey to bolster their support and enjoy the standing and the position they want. <That is why I think the world must watch the situation unfolding very carefully. To ensure there are no blank cheques as they ignore human rights.>
A former member of parliament in Kabul and the first female vice-president of Afghanistan’s National Assembly, Koofi said she did not want to flee
abroad despite the high risk she faced, but that she feared greatly for Afghan’s women and girls.
<Women feel abandoned; men feel abandoned; women feel betrayed. World leaders were not honest in what they said.>
She said she still felt hope for women in the country. <Women are resilient and can still be the agents of change in Afghanistan. They want to
contribute to a better Afghanistan, to help build their country, and it’s different this time.
<They are able to do things better. They are not part of the destruction of their country, but part of the construction of their country. They have not fought militarily.
<Yesterday in Kabul, there was a demonstration, just 6 or 7 women, but it shows how women will raise their voice. And I think they will, to bring the world’s attention to what is imposed on them. Women just want equal rights and respect.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/aug/19/afghanistan-delaying-us-exit-could-have-meant-peace-biden-taliban-fawzia-koofi

Al Jazeera
18 August 2021
Ali M Latifi

Note from Gino d'Artali: The below are excerpts/quotes from the article concerning the women:

<<Kabul, Afghanistan – For the last three days, Yasna Haqparast has been standing outside Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport with her
husband and two children.
Each day, as they wait by the divider between the airport and the Stars Wedding Hall, Haqparast and her family hear the sounds of gunfire as
members of the Taliban shoot round after round into the air, trying to disperse the hundreds of families gathered outside the shuttered airport.
...Haqparast and her family had fled the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, one of the last urban centres to fall to the Taliban last week, and were hoping to head to Canada on Sunday evening. When they got to the airport though, they found themselves face-to-face with a calamity.

<There were rushes of people, everyone pushing up against the other,> Haqparast said of the thousands of people who had crowded around the
airport the night President Ashraf Ghani fled and the Taliban arrived in the capital, Kabul.
Sources told Al Jazeera that the airport has sustained serious damage that will require some time to repair. They said security scanners were broken as a result of the sea of people running past them, and that the inside of the international terminal and the gates are also in need of reparation. It wasn’t just the people desperate to board commercial flights to Dubai and Istanbul, or private evacuation flights to the United States and the United Kingdom, that were amassing around the airport – there were also looters.

Fahim, a government worker who was trying to board a flight to Istanbul, said the impact of Ghani’s departure was immediate.
<As soon as they heard he left, everyone left their posts,> he said of people ranging from government ministers to police in the city, including near the airport. He said thieves took advantage of the chaos and insecurity.
<They would steal the luggage from your hands,> both Fahim and Haqparast said.
Haqparast said in the mad dash to manoeuvre through the crowds rushing through the many checkpoints and the thieves, people lost track of their
belongings. <We were running so fast that what didn’t get stolen somehow just fell from our hands and our pockets.>
She said that her family’s documents, passports and money all fell somewhere on concrete pathways leading to the international terminal.
But she said the worst part of the ordeal was seeing the horrific scenes that have gone viral on social media, including video footage that appeared to show young men grabbing ahold of a US military plane before plummeting as it ascends into the air.

With no money to go back to Mazar and without their documents, Haqparast said her family is forced to sleep <on the dirt> just outside the airport until it reopens.
However, with no tickets, passports or visas, even once the airport returns to business as usual it will be difficult to gain access. Standing only a few feet from Haqparast is a young man in a white piran tomban and a black New York Yankees cap. He smirks in disbelief as a Taliban member pushes back a crowd by flailing a plastic pipe around.

Trying to avoid the rush of people running from the Taliban fighter’s pipe, the man, in his 20s, didn’t give his name, but said that he had previously worked for the Canadian Special Forces.
He said he too, was bound for an evacuation flight, but has been stuck outside the airport for days.
But he, like Haqparast, saw a sharp contrast between himself and the hundreds of people trying to pass the roundabout and walk into the well-
guarded airport, as well as the hundreds more who are posted up outside a lavish wedding hall across from the airport entrance.

<I would say 90 to 95 percent of these people don’t have documents,> he said agreeing with a claim made by Haqparast.
Haqparast is especially angered by reports that people without any documents, including passports, were able to board planes and leave the country.
<It’s not fair, they are taking the rightful places of desperate people,> she says of the men, women and children who have been crowding near the airport since Sunday.>>
Read the whole article here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/18/afghans-desperate-to-leave-country-remain-stuck-at-airport

Note from Gino d'Artali:
Read also this article with this header
<<Taliban fights trust deficit with PR blitz.
The Taliban has projected a moderate image since they retook power on Sunday, but people are still sceptical.>>
Read it here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/19/taliban-fight-trust-deficit-with-pr-blitz

Al Jazeera
17 August 2021
By Zaheena Rasheed and Arwa Ibrahim

<<Taliban says won’t seek revenge, will respect women’s rights.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says group want peace, will respect women’s rights under Islamic law.

The Taliban held its first official news conference in Kabul since the shock seizure of the city, declaring on Tuesday it wished for peaceful relations
with other countries.
<We don’t want any internal or external enemies,> the movement’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, said.
The spokesman asserted that the rights of women will be protected within the framework of Islam.
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/17/evacuation-flights-resume-as-biden-defends-afghanistan-pullout

Al Jazeera
17 August 2021


<<Women’s rights will be protected: Taliban spokesman
Zabihullah Mujahid asserted that the rights of women will be protected within the guidance of Islamic law.

<The women are going to be very active in the society, but within the framework of Islam,> he said in response to a question from an Al Jazeera
correspondent.>>
As quoted here:

Note from Gino d'Artali: What the spokesman really says is that the women must obey the sharia and the moral and religious police and wear a full body covering burqa again and also that girls will not be allowed to school, highschool or univerity. (remember Malala Yousafzai's words (Afghanistan): <one
pencil, one book, one teacher>? Read more here: http://www.cryfreedom.net/malala.htm and http://www.cryfreedom.net/malala2.htm )

The Guardian
18 August 2021

<<I am an Afghan woman working for a western NGO in Kabul. I feel forgotten.
Anonymous

In the past I thought that, if worst came to worst, the NGO would protect me. Now I think they have forgotten me.
I am an Afghan woman in my 20s, living in Kabul. I have five sisters. My oldest sister completed elementary school. The second one is a midwife, and
my third sister is doing her PhD. My younger sister is a film-maker. And my youngest sister, she is a high school student and a member of a volleyball team. And I myself am doing my bachelor in one of Kabul’s universities. Although my parents are uneducated they have tried their best for their children to earn an education. I have been working for a western NGO for two years advocating for women and working towards a stable, sustainable and equal society. When I heard the Taliban was taking over, I was worried about my future and about every single Afghan’s future, especially women and youth. It was a sad moment to think we women will return to the 1990s, and will live behind the closed doors and Burqa.
I am also frightened about what will happen to me. Because I work at a western NGO, my colleagues and I thought that we would be helped. But
when we asked our foreign boss for assistance, she said that nothing will happen to us and she will stay here with us, and she refused to refer us for any visa.

When I heard about Taliban taking young girls and forcing them to marry their soldiers, I was worried for my family and me and so shared my
concerns with a western women’s rights activist in Afghanistan to get help. She said no, I can’t help you. You can get a pretend husband, she said. It was so sad to hear this from a feminist. She didn’t explain why she couldn’t help me. It was as if it wasn’t serious for her.
For the past two days, I haven’t left my house. I don’t even go near my window. I feel like a prisoner. I have lost so much freedom already, and I fear I will lose even more. When we were evacuated from our office, some of my male Afghan colleagues joked saying, ah, it’s the last time we will ever see you again! Now, we will have to get permission from your brother to see you, and he will say no! They found it funny. They thought life will stay the same for them, but will change for me. They don’t care.

Many men think that way. The day that I left my office for the last time, a man on the street approached me and said it’s my fault, the fault of
women – they are becoming too liberal, and too shameless, so that the Taliban have come to discipline them. He said he’s not scared, since Taliban has not come for men, but women.
It has been years that my sisters and I are working to contribute to our society and make our future and our children’s future in Afghanistan better.
Leaving was not an option before, as we did not want to leave our country. But now that we don’t feel safe, we have to make it an option.
It is sad to think about seeking refuge, but we must. I know what it’s like to be a refugee; to be homeless and face discriminations, to be called a
dirty Afghan. That’s what we experienced 25 years ago, when we escaped the war in the 90s and briefly lived in Iran.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/18/afghan-woman-working-western-ngo-kabul-forgotten

Al Jazeera
18 August 2021

<<One women's story:
On August 15, the Taliban took over the Afghan capital of Kabul, entered the presidential palace, and declared an end to the 20-year war. But before that declaration, as the armed group rapidly advanced throughout the country, we spoke with Pashtana Durrani. She’s an Afghan activist who was witnessing it all first-hand. In this episode of The Take, we hear her story.>>
Click here to hear her story:
https://www.aljazeera.com/podcasts/2021/8/18/what-it-was-like-to-watch-the-taliban-takeover
Pashtana Durrani (@BarakPashtana), founder and executive director of LEARN Afghanistan

Al Jazeera
18 August 2021

<<Afghan girls return to school in Herat after Taliban takeover.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says the group is ‘committed to letting women work in accordance with the principles of Islam’.

Girls wearing white hijabs and black tunics are streaming into classrooms in the western Afghan city of Herat just days after the Taliban’s takeover.
As the school opened its doors, the students scurried down corridors and chatted in courtyards, seemingly oblivious to the turmoil that has engulfed the country in the past two weeks.
The scenes – which many feared would be banned under the Taliban – were filmed by an AFP cameraman this week, just days after fighters from the armed group took the city following the collapse of government forces and local militias.
<We want to progress like other countries,> said student Roqia.
<And we hope the Taliban will maintain security. We don’t want war, we want peace in our country.>
With its close proximity to the Iranian border, the ancient Silk Road city of Herat has long been a cosmopolitan exception to more conservative
centres.
Women and girls walked more freely in the streets, attending schools and colleges in huge numbers in a city famed for its poetry and arts.
Its long-term future remains uncertain, however.

Under the hardline interpretation of Islamic law the Taliban imposed when they controlled Afghanistan in the 1990s, women and girls were mostly
denied education and employment.
Full-face coverings became mandatory in public, and women could not leave home without a male companion.

What lies ahead?

During the Taliban’s last rule, public floggings and executions, including stoning for accusations of adultery, were carried out in city squares and
stadiums.
What lies ahead for women with the Taliban back in power remains unclear.
Publicly, the Taliban are attempting to push the narrative that they have moderated some of their more extreme positions, with their spokesman late on Tuesday announcing an official pardon for <everyone> involved in the war.
During the group’s first official press conference in Kabul since retaking power, Zabihullah Mujahid said the group was <committed to letting women work in accordance with the principles of Islam>.

Asked what the difference was between the movement overthrown 20 years ago and the Taliban of today, he said: <If the question is based on
ideology and beliefs, there is no difference… but if we calculate it based on experience, maturity, and insight, no doubt there are many differences.
<The steps today will be positively different from the past steps,> he added.

Still, people have been entering public life cautiously, with women largely absent from the streets of Kabul and men trading their Western clothes for more traditional Afghan garb.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/18/afghan-girls-return-to-school-in-herat-after-taliban-takeover

The Guardian
18 August 2021
Shamira Shackle

<<The plight of women helped justify war in Afghanistan. Now they have been abandoned. Female doctors, journalists, police officers and politicians face acute danger from the Taliban.

It was one of the worst phone calls I’ve ever received: a friend in Kabul calling on Sunday afternoon to say that armed men had just visited her
house. Her voice was shaking to the extent that she sounded as if she was gasping for air. The men had intimidated her and left, and she had fled to a friend’s house to hide with her children. She didn’t know when they’d return, if they would find her, or when it would be possible to relocate again to somewhere farther away. I have never heard someone sound so scared.
She begged for help to escape the country; I promised I would keep trying. But options were closing all the time. Earlier that day, through a small
charity, I’d managed to get my friend and her children booked on to a flight to a third country. The plan was that they’d get to safety and continue to look for a more permanent relocation. It was a brief ray of hope during a dark few days. But within hours of the booking, all commercial flights out of Kabul were cancelled.

Like me, my friend is a female journalist in her 30s who has worked in the media for her whole adult life. There the similarities end. For my friend,
working as a journalist in Kabul has led to death threats and intimidation, long before the recent US withdrawal and the chaos of the past few days.
When I first got to know her in 2019, she confided that she was being threatened by the Taliban and was afraid to continue with her work. But
continue she did. Over the last year, as the Taliban gained more ground across Afghanistan, the risks intensified. She was followed home from work. More than once, an unfamiliar vehicle tried to crash into her car.
As the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated in recent months, she was desperate to leave the country. In early July, officials in the Biden
administration said they were <considering> 2,000 expedited visas for <vulnerable women>, including journalists, politicians and activists, who might be targeted by the Taliban after the withdrawal. My friend asked me to help her find more information. I searched for details, but even as a native English speaker and a person who finds things out for a living, it was difficult to find any clarity on this proposal, or indeed on any other legal routes by which Afghan journalists could seek resettlement. As it happened, the scheme for vulnerable women never materialised.

This is a particular outrage because women in Afghanistan have long been used as a political talking point in the west; the protection of Afghan
women was a key justification for invasion and a reason for western forces staying there. I was just 14 when the 9/11 attacks took place and
Afghanistan was invaded, yet I vividly remember the proliferation of images of Afghan women – either brutalised, their noses or fingernails cut off, or shrouded completely, their blue burqas a symbol of the oppression that Bush and Blair were purportedly seeking to overthrow. Then, and since, the position of women was used as a marker of cultural progress, setting up the world into distinct categories: good versus evil, civilised versus barbaric.
Take this comment from George W Bush’s farewell statement in 2009: <Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harboured al-Qaida
and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school.>

Yet what now for those girls who went to school, who took on roles in politics, journalism, activism, sports or other areas of public life? Over the past few years, as foreign military forces left Afghanistan, female police officers, journalists and doctors have been targeted and killed. It is no surprise that the situation has worsened so drastically now. Back in April, Human Rights Watch warned that female journalists faced a particularly acute threat: <Female reporters may be targeted not only for issues they cover but also for challenging perceived social norms prohibiting women from being in a public role and working outside the home.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/18/plight-women-justify-war-afghanistan-abandoned-taliban

 

copyright Womens Liberation Front 2019/cryfreedom.net 2021