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“They will kill me”: the resignation of the youngest mayor in Afghanistan after the victory of the Taliban

The Taliban “will come for people like me and kill me,” said a young mayor of Afghanistan who fights for the rights of women, one of the few women who has held a position in the government.

“I am sitting here waiting for them to arrive. There is no one to help me or my family. I am sitting next to my husband. I can’t leave my family. And, anyway, “where could I go?” said on August 15 Zarifa Ghafari, 27, mayor in the province of Maidan Wardak.

Ghafari rose to fame in 2018 by becoming the youngest mayor of a city in Afghanistan, specifically in Maidan Wardak province. The Taliban have constantly threatened her ever since. Her father, General Abdul Wasi Ghafari, was shot dead on November 15 last year, just 20 days after the third attack against her failed.

Before the landslide triumph of the Taliban, three weeks ago the mayor told: “Younger people are aware of what is happening. They have social networks. They communicate. I believe that they will continue to fight for progress and our rights. I think there is a future for this country”.

As Afghanistan’s big cities fell to the Taliban, senior government officials managed to escape, including the country’s President Ashraf Ghani. But Zarifa Ghafari says she has nowhere to hide.

After the fall of Afghanistan, the Taliban have assured that they will not go against the civilian population and have said that the atrocities they committed in the past, especially against women, will not happen again.

Even this Tuesday, the spokesman for the political office of the Taliban in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen, assured that girls and women will be able to continue attending schools and accessing higher education in Afghanistan with the country under their control.

“We have announced this policy more than once, at international conferences like the one in Moscow, at the Doha conference. Our leader has mentioned it in his speeches. So that’s our policy.” Shaheen said in an interview with the British network ‘Sky News’.

“In all those areas that are falling on our side in Afghanistan there were thousands of schools, girls’ schools, universities. They are all operating”, he assured.

The Taliban spokesman stressed that “even” a woman has been seen presenting the news in Afghanistan. “She has returned to her work,” he said.

Asked whether women will be able to hold political office in Afghanistan, Shaheen replied: “Our policy is clear. They can access education and work, that’s one thing”.

“They can hold positions, but they can hold those positions in the context of Islamic law, so there is a general framework for them,” said the Taliban spokesman, who stressed that women should be covered according to “Islamic norms”, but that her clothes “are not limited to the burqa”.

On those who have worked under previous Afghan governments, Shaheen said that “their property will be protected and their honor and lives are safe”.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.