Exiled Afghan women’s rights activist details hardships abroad

Afghan women’s rights activists in exile describe their experience as a time of “hardships and difficult times,” attributing their struggles to the “oppressive policies” of the Taliban.

Waheeda Amiri, one of these activists, has criticized the negative labels assigned to women protesting for asylum in foreign countries. In a recent video, Amiri detailed the daily challenges she faces living in the U.S.

The protests by Afghan women aim to secure recognition for their “humanity and equality.” Amiri, formerly a librarian committed to establishing libraries in Afghanistan, reflected on her past efforts to promote reading among the youth, particularly girls and women writers. “They [women protesters] stood up for their identity, humanity, and equality. I, who was a librarian, let you judge for yourselves, wanted to build libraries. Encourage youth to read books in every province of Afghanistan, especially focusing on women and women writers,” she stated.

For nearly three years, Afghan women and girls have been denied education, employment, and freedom of movement under Taliban rule. In response, dozens of women have taken to the streets of Kabul to demand their rights.

“The women and girls of Afghanistan today will never go back, will never surrender. Many women in Afghanistan have paid a heavy price on this path,” said Taranom Saeedi, another women’s rights defender.

Some activists, like Rahil Talash, view their fight against the Taliban’s restrictive measures as an “obligation” and stress the importance of continuing the struggle. “Our sisters have gone to the ends of prisons and chains for justice and seeking rights. We have made sacrifices, including martyrs who are missing. As per these protests, the struggle continues, and it is an obligation,” Talash remarked.

Despite these efforts, the Taliban maintain that the rights of women and girls are “secured” in Afghanistan, dismissing national and international concerns as “unfounded.”

This backdrop of adversity has prompted Afghan women’s rights activists to launch an international campaign against what they call “gender apartheid” under the Taliban’s regime.