'Taliban Will Come For People Like Me': Afghan's 1st Female Mayor Lives In Fear
With the return of the Taliban, Zarifa Ghafari like many other Afghan women fears that 'dark days' will return.
Zarifa Ghafari, Afghanistan's first and youngest female mayor, is living in fear.
She had hoped that Kabul would not collapse in the hands of militant groups but as the Taliban took over the country's capital on 15 August, putting millions of women and children at greater risk.
The 27-year-old says she has nowhere to go as the senior members of the Ashraf Ghani-led government somehow managed to flee.
"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. I can't leave my family. And anyway, where would I go?" told Ghafari to the British newspaper iNews.
Who is Zarifa Ghafari?
Zarifa Ghafari made history in 2018 by becoming Afghanistan's first female mayor. She took her office in Wardak province of the country where she was given the responsibility of taking care of the welfare of wounded soldiers and civilians during terror attacks in Kabul.
In the past, she has received death threats from the Taliban. According to reports, her father, General Abdul Wasi Ghafari, was shot and killed by militants on 15 November 2020, just 20 days after the third attempt to kill her failed, reported India Today.
Ghafari was chosen as the International Woman of Courage by the US Secretary of State in the year 2020. While receiving the award, she mentioned that Afghan women are 'always worried for the future since they have not forgotten the Taliban's reign'.
A graduate from University of Punjab in Chandigarh, India, Ghafari has also been listed as one of the 100 Inspiring Influential Women from around the world in 2019 by BBC.
Living in the Fear of 'Dark Days'
With the return of the Taliban, just like other women and girls of Afghanistan, Ghafari also fears that the 'dark days' will return.
During the last reign of Taliban over Afghanistan, women were deprived of basic human rights, such as girls over 12 years of age were not allowed to go to school, women had to be accompanied by men when they leave home, women who were accused of adultery or protesting against the Taliban and other Islamic laws were stoned to death. Television and music were also forbidden.
Taliban in an official statement has 'promised' that the lives of women and opponents would be protected and sought for 'peaceful transfer of power'. The statement further read that, "No one’s life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk."
But many Afghans, particularly women are skeptical of the group's intentions whether or not the Taliban have truly changed.
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