Afghan women are in extreme danger. Following Taliban invasion of Afghanistan and the country being rebranded as the Islamic Emirate, Afghan girls and women are in extreme fear of losing their rights while hundreds and thousands of Afghan women in being terrorized of becoming sex slaves of the Islamist mullahs.
Nasreen Sultani, the principal of the Sardar-e-Kabuli Girls High School in Kabul, has spent years fighting for the rights of Afghan girls, but said she now lives in constant fear for the safety of her students.
“I am very sad. When I see all these girls, I get really upset now,” she told NBC News last week, her eyes welling up with tears.
“I tried, but we couldn’t manage to make sure that women get out of this miserable situation,” added Sultani, who has led the school for a decade after a major US Agency for International Development restoration project allowed it to reopen.
Her despair will only have grown Sunday after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, leaving the Taliban on the brink of taking power.
She said she had been threatened by the Taliban in the past. Members of the hardline Islamic militant group had told her “about the color of the car they might blow up,” she said. “‘You all might die,’ they told us”.
Sultani is one of many Afghan women in leadership roles who say they fear a return to Taliban rule will also spell a return to its austere and harsh interpretation of Islam, which long severely restricted women’s rights until the US-led toppling of the regime in 2001.
Under the Taliban’s former regime, girls were blocked from attending school, while women were largely barred from appearing in public without full body coverings and male escorts.
Those who violated the Taliban’s rules faced flogging in public and execution.
Fawzia Koofi, a women’s rights activist, former lawmaker and member of the Afghan delegation that was working to negotiate peace with the Taliban before the US military’s withdrawal, said women felt “betrayed.”
“Women in Afghanistan are the most at danger or most at-risk population of the country,” she said, adding that the “criminals” the Taliban had freed from prisons to swell their ranks now also posed a threat, along with “those who [have been] upset with women becoming powerful in the last 20 years.”
The future for women in Afghanistan appears “dark,” she said.
Already, women in cities that have fallen under Taliban control “are like prisoners in [their] home,” according to a provincial government official in Afghanistan.
Elsewhere, women expressed fears of a future with “no right to education, no right to teach, no right to work” in a letter shared with NBC News by the office of Rohgul Khairzad, the deputy governor of Nimroz province.
Khairzad’s office said the letter was written Monday by a group of women in Zaranj, Nimroz’s provincial capital and the first to fall to the Taliban after U.S. forces began pulling out of the country.
“The Taliban, during the previous regime, showed that they would never allow women to study and work while Islam allowed them to do so, even under Islam,” the letter said. “Men are entitled to the same rights in every period of time”.
“We are awake with thousands of fears and fears until dawn,” it added, before calling on “the world community” to step in. “Please stop the Taliban. Respect women and girls”.
The letter also expressed fears that women and girls could be forced to marry members of the militant group.
Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, dismissed the letter as “rubbish and baseless propaganda” and denied that women would be forced into marriages.
“This is not even thinkable in our system, no matter how powerful you are,” he said.
However, both Koofi and the provincial official said they had received reports that women were being made to “marry by force”.
Now Afghanistan is under Taliban rule. Hundreds of thousands of girls and women in the country are in extreme danger. International community must take immediate measures in saving the lives of the innocent Afghan civilians and members of the Afghan military.
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