A MOTHER, KABUL
I am writing this letter to inform you about our situation in Afghanistan. We are still hiding in Afghanistan, in a bad situation, in the darkness, disappointed. But we will never give up, we will try to escape from this situation.
From the editors: In September, we published this letter from an Afghan family. The mother, whose name we’re withholding, was a women’s rights activist who had put many violent offenders against women and children behind bars; since the fall of Kabul, these criminals have been released. The father worked for a French NGO. They have five daughters and a son. Many of our readers contributed, generously, to this fundraiser to help them. We published this update from them in November. Unfortunately, as much as we desperately wish we had good news to report to you, we don’t—not yet. Their mother writes, below.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I hope you are well. I am writing this letter to inform you about our situation in Afghanistan. We are still hiding in Afghanistan, in a bad situation, in the darkness, disappointed. But we will never give up, we will try to escape from this situation.
We have been hiding in Afghanistan since August 15, 2021, when Kabul fell to the Taliban. We have faced a lot of problems during these months. We changed our location three times because the Taliban released all the criminals I was involved in imprisoning.
As you all know, I worked as a lawyer and women’s rights activist in Afghanistan. The people I stood up to and sent to prison have now been released. I cannot leave the house and this causes me depression and I am now stressed. Not just me but my whole family.
I remember the days when I helped women and girls, but now I cannot help myself and my family, especially my daughters. My daughters have dropped out of school, they cannot go to school because the Taliban have closed all girls’ schools. Our lives completely changed on August 15, 2021. Our bodies are alive, but our souls are dead. We have no hope in Afghanistan because the Taliban took freedom from us. Living in Afghanistan is so hard nowadays that everyone wants to escape from Afghanistan. The Taliban don’t know anything about humanity, women rights, girl’s rights, children rights, or anything else.
My daughters are extremely vulnerable in Afghanistan, they are at risk of early marriage, forced marriage, because under the control of Taliban regime every evil thing is possible, especially for girls and women.
I hoped my daughters would have a good future in Afghanistan, but now I am just trying to find a safe place for my family, especially for my daughters. They must have the right to choose their lives and their husbands, to live in freedom, to acquire knowledge, to be a positive person in society.
The Taliban don’t respect women and girls, they are searching for women’s rights activists. They arrested a lot of women’s rights activists here recently. I live in fear and the situation is desperate for female defense lawyers, judges, and women’s rights activists in Afghanistan. I am sure a lot of judges and lawyers have escaped from Afghanistan, but a lot of them are still hidden in Afghanistan, like me.
Since Kabul collapsed, we have tried to contact a lot of organizations and officials in different countries. Some of them answered my emails but some of them completely ignored us. We contacted: protectDefenders.eu, The Asia Foundation, the French government, the UK government.
We also contacted Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (MP) in the UK parliament, he is really a kind person. He wrote an email to minister in charge of the resettlement scheme in UK for the people of Afghanistan, but he hasn’t yet received a response from this minister, we hopefully wait to receive an answer from the minister.
Also, the Asia Foundation referred me to the P2 program (the immigration program for the Afghan nation). Because I have successfully finished the LALE fellowship program which is supported by the US government and implemented by the Asia Foundation, the Asia Foundation referred all fellows of this program to the P2 program, I am very thankful to the Asia Foundation.
I also contacted protectdefenders.eu to support us because this is their responsibility, supporting human rights defenders, and now I need their support because I did my job to support girls and women in Afghanistan. But I haven’t received any backup from them yet.
We also sent emails to CDC [France’s dedicated crisis center for Afghanistan] in French government and asked them to help us because my husband worked with a French organization for over seven years. We also sent a lot of emails to Mr. David Martinon (the Ambassador of France in Afghanistan), but he didn’t answer our emails. Also, we didn’t receive any answer from CDC. This is really disappointing for me and my family, because my husband helped this French organization when it was in a bad situation in Afghanistan. My husband helped them to reach their goals in Afghanistan but now, when we need help, they ignore us. We are still waiting to receive an answer from France government.
Too Young to Wed evacuates people from Afghanistan to Pakistan, but we need to have passports for all of our family members before they can evacuate us from Afghanistan to Pakistan.
Two of my family members needed passports (one of my daughters and my son). We successfully got a passport for my daughter, but in the time that took, my son’s passport expired and now we are trying to get passport for my son. We will receive my son’s passport soon. When we receive that passport, we will contact the Too Young to Wed organization for evacuation.
We will go to Pakistan because Afghanistan is not a safe place for me and my family. We may stay in Pakistan for over two years or maybe more.
We will start our P2 case in Pakistan. But I am worried about how we can afford life in Pakistan because the costs are so high in Pakistan. We need more funding. We are raising the fundraising goals to cover the costs we will face in Pakistan (the cost of living, visa application fees, medical fees, and airplane tickets).
I am very thankful to Ms. Claire Berlinski for launching this campaign on Gofundme.com, which helped us a lot in this bad situation. We have survived on the money from this fund since September 2021.
We are very thankful to everyone who contributed and your help to save our lives. Please help me to find a safe place for my family.
The author was a lawyer and women’s rights activist in Kabul before it fell to the Taliban. For her security and her family’s, we are withholding her name.