As the Taliban descended on the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday, residents who have lived most of their lives under the freedom afforded them by the US-backed regime prepared for a return to the sharia rule which existed between 1992-2001 when the Taliban was in control of the country.
Afghanistan’s women and girls fear a revival of the repression experienced two decades ago the last time this terror group was in control of the nation — strict social codes that forbid them from going outside without a male family member to accompany them, force them to cover themselves from head to foot, and restrict them from many jobs and any position of authority.
Women like Zarifa Ghafari, the first female mayor in the conservative town of Maidan Shar and the youngest mayor in Afghanistan at just 27 years old, are simply waiting for almost certain death.
“I’m waiting for the Taliban to come for people like me and kill me,” Ghafari told the British newspaper i on Sunday.
“There is no one to help me or my family. I’m just sitting with them and my husband. And they will come for people like me and kill me,” she said. “I can’t leave my family. And anyway, where would I go?”
Just last year, Ghafari was awarded the International Women of Courage Award for 2020.
There have already been six attempts on her life, one of which then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned last October.
A few weeks ago, however, even as the United States was coordinating its full withdrawal of U.S. troops, Ghafari still had hope for the future of her homeland when the now-deposed Afghan government in which she served was still in place.
“Younger people are aware of what’s happening. They have social media. They communicate. I think they will continue fighting for progress and our rights. I think there is a future for this country,” she said at the time, according to the British newspaper.
As the Taliban has become resurgent this year, Ghafari, who became her town’s first female mayor in 2018, was given a job at the Defense Ministry in Kabul where she oversaw the welfare of soldiers and civilians who had been injured in terrorist attacks.
This job kept her safe, but President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation on Sunday as the government dissolved in a matter of hours.
Ghafari, like many Afghans who worked for the government or for American personnel, have good reason to fear for their lives. Although such attacks have been denied by Taliban spokesmen, who promise peace once their government is fully installed, several reports and anecdotes have been circling of people like Ghafari being publicly executed in gruesome ways.
Afghanistan’s minuscule Christian population is also anticipating the same escalation of violence against its dissident numbers.
The world is watching in horror as brutal rule settles in once again in this war-torn nation. Pray for those who are in the crosshairs of this violent, extreme regime.
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