Janina Bauer and Rebecca Spring
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen made a big promise to Afghanistan’s women on Monday: “You don’t have to be afraid,” he said in an interview with the BBC. Her life should go on normally, he also assured schooling. However, many people do not trust his words.
The pictures that are currently circulating on social media speak for themselves: In Kabul, men are painting over or tearing down billboards on which women can be seen uncovered for fear of the Islamists. The memories of the last Taliban rule in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 are too deep. At that time, women were not allowed to work or go to school. They were locked up at home – domestic and sexual violence were the order of the day.
Escape to Iran
Asma Rezaie (31) was born in Afghanistan. She escaped such a fate, her family fled to Iran in 1990. Shortly before the fall of the terror regime in 2001, they returned to their hometown of Herat in the west of the country. Rezaie went to school, studied math and worked at the local airport.
Just like for her, 2001 began a new age for many women.
Although extremely patriarchal structures still prevail in large parts of the country, the women have fought for a lot. Especially in the big cities. “The women there are doctors, artists, politicians and journalists,” says Alexandra Karle, Director of Amnesty International Switzerland. In particular, the generation born after 2001 lead a normal life. “A world is collapsing for these girls.”
“I cry for my family every evening”
For Asma Rezaie, the situation worsened in 2015. In her hometown, the Taliban regained power at this point and the unrest intensified. She was no longer allowed to study, and she was also banned from working. “I was forced to wear a burqa.” In December 2015, the young woman fled alone to Switzerland because of this.
Today she lives and works in Zurich. Together with her fiancé Ehsan Nazari, she is planning a future in Switzerland. There is now great concern for her family that she had to leave behind: “My family and friends are still in Afghanistan. I cry for her every evening. ” She has only sporadic contact. A few days ago she was talking to a mother who was friends. “She told me: ‘Before the Taliban have my little daughters, I’ll kill them myself.” “Asma Rezaie is convinced:” For the Taliban women are not people, but things. ” Should she ever have children, she definitely wants to raise them in Switzerland.
Women are hopeless
In addition to young girls, women in particular are threatened by the Taliban in public. Two of them are Zarifa Ghafari (27) and Fatimah Hosseini (28). Both have been stuck in Kabul since last weekend. Ghafari is the country’s youngest mayor – in Maidan Shahr, 50 kilometers south of Kabul. At least three attacks have been carried out on them in the past. She and her family are hiding in her apartment in Kabul. Compared to “inews” she said on Sunday: “The Taliban will take people like me and kill them. I’m sitting here and waiting for them to come. ” Fleeing and abandoning the family is out of the question for Ghafari. “Anyway, where should I go?” She asks.
Fatimah Hosseini also reports from her apartment in Kabul. The Iranian-Afghan women’s rights activist and photographer tells stories about identity and femininity in Afghanistan in her work. As a journalist who works with Western media, she now fears for her life. She told CNN: “We are losing our hope and our future. We don’t know what’s going to happen. “