After the Taliban invaded the Afghan capital Kabul a week ago, nothing is like it was before. There is chaos, thousands are trying to flee. Women in particular fear for their freedom, their rights – and their lives. One of them is Fariba *. The 29-year-old lives with her sisters and parents in Kabul and works as a nurse in a hospital. For SonntagsBlick, she recorded in a diary how she experienced the situation on site.
Tuesday 17th August
The feeling that I and thousands of women and girls in the country have is indescribable. To understand this pain you would have to be here. I love my country. Life is good here. I love working with the kids in the hospital. But now, with the arrival of the new regime – the Taliban – I believe that I have lost all of my dreams. When I see her with guns in her hands, my whole body shakes with stress. I will keep fighting for my patients. I wonder if I should go to work or stay home. But no – I have taken an oath to always be there for my patients. Staying home would mean I’m a coward. So I decide, like in the days before, to go to work. As I approach Kabul University, the previous guards are no longer there. Taliban soldiers are now in their place. Now there is no turning back – I am shaking all over again. I am afraid of the Taliban. And thousands of questions in your head. How shall we continue? What rules do you want to enforce? There are rumors that the Taliban are ransacking every home to force girls and young women to marry their warriors. We are also concerned about the Taliban’s regulation that women are not allowed to leave the house without a male escort. How can we go shopping from now on or show ourselves normally in public? My father can hardly bring us all to university or to work at the same time.
Wednesday 18th August
This day began with fears, a bad gut feeling and inner restlessness. Nothing is like before. Nobody wears normal work clothes anymore. Neither the guards nor the doctors, neither me nor my teammates. They all have to put on the Afghan national costume now, only they accept the Taliban. When I got to work today, I was told that the Taliban had forced our guards to surrender their weapons. And that all of our employees with dual citizenship have left the country. Just me and a teammate showed up for work. Everyone else is afraid of the Taliban and stayed at home. There is an unusual silence in the hospital. Even so, I try to be strong and keep doing my job. But fear doesn’t let me relax for a minute. My mother calls me several times. I tell her not to worry. Today the Taliban were also in our hospital – luckily I didn’t meet them. The working day ended with a lot of excitement and fear. These feelings don’t stop when I’m home either. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.
Thursday 19th August
I have to leave the country. I no longer have a future here. I’m going to the French embassy to apply for asylum. To my disappointment, however, there is a large crowd gathered there – and we are not given any information. The Taliban are present in front of the embassy and are shooting in the air. They whipped a man. My hopes of being able to leave the country have burst. At that moment I just want to save my life. I run home with tears in my eyes. It’s still safe there at the moment. But how long?
Friday 20th August
Today the working atmosphere in the hospital is very depressed. The whole team is looking for opportunities to leave the country. Everyone is desperate and only has one thing on their mind at the moment: How can we escape? Many have already left. We have few patients. Everyone thinks that our hospital will close.
Saturday 21st August
We have not been able to sleep properly at night for a week and have nightmares. Talking about our hospital closing soon hurts me. Our lives are threatened because we work for the hospital. I try to control my anxiety and start my work. After treating a few patients, I meet a woman. She was beaten by the Taliban. Your ear is bleeding profusely. She doesn’t speak a word to me, just cries all the time. I am deeply moved by your helplessness. She’s losing her ear, I can’t save it. Oh Allah, how am I supposed to help my patients under these psychological challenges?