Afghan mayor says she’s waiting for Taliban to ‘come and kill me’
27-year-old is Afghanistan's youngest female mayor and is now left with "no help"
Zarifa Ghafari, mayor of Maidan Shahr - the capital city of the Wardak Province - and the youngest in the country, has been left to fend for herself after senior members of the government and foreign officials managed to flee the country during the mass evacuation of Kabul over the weekend.
Speaking to iNews, Ghafari (27) has said she is now "sitting here waiting for [the Taliban] to come" and that there is "no one to help" her or her family. Aware of how the militant group has historically treated women under sharia law, she added: "they will come for people like me and kill me. I can’t leave my family. And anyway, where would I go?"
Just four days ago, she posted this hopefully tweet and insists she still believes "there is a future for this country", but the seizing of Kabul and power, not to mention the reports of how women are already being treated in Afghanistan since the takeover, will no doubt have shirked her confidence.
My dear homeland,
I know you are suffering and in pain 😢
I know it is hard for you because strangers burn you and seek your destruction 😢
But your real children who are looking to build you are very hard but with full courage trying to pull you out of these bad days 😍 pic.twitter.com/paQh0Nry4f
— Zarifa Ghafari (@Zarifa_Ghafari) August 14, 2021
Ghafari noted how she believed young people will "continue fighting for progress and our rights" as they continue to be aware of what is happening and communicate through social media. However, she also admits she did not believe the Taliban would take Kabul.
Afghan MP, Farzana Kochai, told iNews similar, stating that she did not believe the militant Islamist group would reinfiltrate the nation so swiftly. In contrast, Kochai now says tens of thousands of families are living on the streets, in parks and temporary camps outside Kabul in hopes.
Nevertheless, she knows that their safety and her own is far from secured and that displaced Afghans still face returning to live under Taliban rule. Either way, like Ghafari, she is staying to fight for women's rights in the nation.
In the midst of utter chaos, MP Farzana Kochai courageously still uses her platform as an elected official to fight for the human rights of Afghan women and girls.
In doing so, her life is endangered.
That’s the epitome of courage. #AfganistanWomen #IStandWithAfghanWomen https://t.co/0KYQOGAYox
— Nahanni Fontaine (@NahanniFontaine) August 17, 2021
Yesterday, Zabihullah Mujahid - the chief spokesman for the Taliban who made his first public appearance in the historical press conference - assured that women's lives and rights would be protected under the new government.
He insisted that while the group remains a religious regime under sharia law (a doctrine that does not value women in the same standing as men), "there is a huge difference between us now and 20 years ago". On the same day, reports of women being killed for not wearing burqas began to circulate.
Ghafari herself became publicly known when she won the mayoral election back in 2018 and has been reported that the Taliban have continuously threatened to kill her ever since. It is believed that forces are also going around Aghan cities and towns marking doors with pink paint to identify notable female individuals and other activists to revisit later, despite claims of amnesty.
“We haven’t taken revenge steps against anybody, but during the war there was no choice”
Taliban Spokesman addresses press conference, saying “we have given amnesty to everybody, we want them to give us forgiveness”https://t.co/2f6JMTXHky pic.twitter.com/oJ5kYuD0VU
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 17, 2021
In November of 2020, Ghafari's father, General Abdul Wasi Ghafari, was gunned down just 20 days after a third attempt on her life failed. To protect Ghafari during the Taliban resurgence, she was given a job in the Defence Ministry in Kabul, looking after the welfare of soldiers and civilians injured in terror attacks.
The Afghan mayor's work is vital but is now more difficult than ever following the coup. Once again, Mujahid claims that women will not only keep an active role in Afghan society but are even being encouraged to be a part of this new government.
However, many refuse to take the new leaders at their word as reports of more violence on the streets of Afghanistan emerge.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 18, 2021