“No one feels safe at this moment.”
Those are the words of a leading woman figure in Afghanistan with good and accurate knowledge of what is happening in the country.
We spoke with her by phone earlier today. Because of the threat she is under she asked we withhold her name.
“We are in a state of shock,” she explained, as images of Taliban fighters openly abusing women on the streets of Kabul they now control are circulating.
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Taliban spokesmen say they will allow women to participate in the country they plan to run, unlike their harsh treatment of women and girls in the past.
“They haven’t changed,” she said. “They are worse. In fact, they are stronger than before. They are barbaric”
There are reports of women scrubbing their online data and destroying documents, fearful of anything that could be considered incriminating.
“They are taking revenge,” she told us. “They are searching door to door … going into hundreds of homes … going through mobile phones.”
As for this woman, she told us since the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday, she’s kept her identity hidden, moving house several times. When she tried to make a break for the Kabul airport to reach an evacuation flight, she was turned away harshly by Taliban fighters, her husband hit with the butt of a gun.
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When we asked her if she had any hope for the future, she answered without hesitation: “No! No! No!”
At which point, her husband told her she had been on the phone too long and cut off our conversation.
For women and all caught in the Taliban onslaught, the harrowing tale goes on.