This commentary was submitted by an Afghan woman who has been in this country for many years. As a child she was chased from her home in the provinces to outside couple Kubul, to Kubul itself and then to a series of Pakistani refugee camps. After marrying someone who worked for the British embassy she was forced to flee yet another time. She still has a lot of family left in Afghanistan. She is terrified for all of them.
When the Taliban came into Kabul this time, all the businesses shut down and people became desperately worried about their future.
My sister is a widow and was running a sewing business in her own house, working together with other widows so that they could support their families.
It was hard but they were able to manage. But as soon as the Taliban came into Kabul she lost all her clients because everyone is afraid of them and don’t want to leave their houses. My sister says Kabul is a dead city. They remember the Taliban used to whip women last time they were in power. No one can trust the Taliban to behave differently this time.
While the NATO soldiers were in Afghanistan the Taliban were sending suicide bombers to target schools, universities, hotels and other crowded places, especially at Eid. After the NATO soldiers left, the Taliban started attacking the provinces. The people from the provinces had to leave their homes because they were scared that their husbands and sons would be killed and their daughters forced into marriage with the Taliban fighters. This was happening. The people all came into Kabul for safety. The government didn’t support them, just left them in the parks without food or shelter. Only the local people helped them. They tell stories of what has been happening in the provinces.
They are punishing women if they are outside the house without a male guardian. They are sending high qualified women home from work saying that only men can work in those jobs. They are searching for people who worked with the British and Americans and want to punish them as traitors. this is a lot of people, not just interpreters.
This brings back the bad memories of past times when the Mujahideen and Taliban ruled Afghanistan. The Taliban say they will not be the same but how they have been in the provinces shows what they are really like. Everyone thinks that this time the Taliban could be even worse. This makes us terrified for our families there even though we are safe here.
So there are more people in Kabul now which makes everything very hard. Also now everyone has had experience of normal western life with freedom to run businesses and have careers. But it has all changed. My brother who works as a hotel manager had to stop working because the hotel closed. His pay was cut to one quarter of his salary, so it’s hard for him to support his wife and four children. Others of my family worked in the British embassy and are very frightened.