By Adeleh Mohseni
NATO, America left us alone
“After 20 years of efforts by women, we were not successful and we saw that politics did its job and the Taliban came to power,” said Mobineh Saei, a media activist from northern Balkh. She said “Many civil activists have come to Kabul or left Afghanistan as a sign of despair for the unknown future”.
She expressed concern over the plight of the people of Kabul and added: “Wherever the Taliban are present, they are searching people’s homes under the pretext of having weapons. The international community has left Afghanistan alone, and we are on a losing streak that we did not expect. For now, the only discussion is about who is taking power, and less attention is paid to civil society activists. There has been no talk of human rights and women since the start of the peace talks.
Afghanistan: victim of the interests of Western governments
For 20 years, Afghanistan has been subject to the political projects of Western governments that pursued their own interests, not the interests of the Afghan people. The great western powers used our predicament to support their own interest.
Saei stressed that there was no commitment to human rights and women, and that we are alone today. The world understands that we did not deserve this so-called peace with the Taliban.
People welcome the Taliban for fear of their lives because the world has left us alone
The media sometimes broadcast images showing people in some areas welcoming the Taliban. This is not because people like the Taliban but because they are scared of them. We have lost hopes [to get help] from any other country. And the people who welcome the Taliban do that to save their lives. We ask the media to provide these images with appropriate explanations.
We are now located close to a park in Kabul where there are about 1000 families. No media outlet interviews these people. Our voice has not reached the world and we are asking for help. Women and children are in a difficult situation.
Saei pointed to other consequences of the Taliban presence and said: “Women can not go to hospitals at all if they are not accompanied by a Mahram (a close relative) or if they don’t have a son older than 12. The Taliban have told shopkeepers not to sell anything to women not accompanied by a Mahram. Since the arrival of the Taliban, women can no longer leave without a burqa. If Kabul falls, we fear even more frightening events than the last time Kabul fell to the Taliban years ago”.
Saei also said that to help counter the Taliban’s crimes, the international media should cover the Taliban’s atrocities and document these crimes. They should go to the most remote villages where girls were taken by the Taliban and talk to their family. The perpetrators should also be punished so that if this group (Taliban) stays in power, it is forced to control its actions in future. There is no one from the International Criminal Court in Afghanistan. At least one person from a human rights institutions must be present in Afghanistan to document ethnic and gender discrimination. The silence of the United Nations is dangerous. When we met with the United Nations representatives, they had no concrete plans to help [Afghan] women. They just issue denunciations and proclamations. The work must take on a practical aspect. By documenting crimes, we can reach out to the International Criminal Court, and this way we may force the Taliban to be held accountable.
Every woman in the world is a medium for supporting Afghan women
Adeleh Mohseni, another speaker at the meeting, while choking back tears, said: “We are the victims of a barbarism that will affect the world as well.” Who is to blame for the loss of the country today? The United States, the Taliban, or the government or the domestic media that condoned the terrorist groups?
“Right now we have to put pressure on the UN Security Council to prevent the Taliban from being legitimized,” She said. “A group stained with the blood of innocent people wants to rule us. We must also reach out to the women around the world and ask them to be our voices. We must tell the women of NATO countries that you have paid for this war with your taxes for years, your sons or daughters have been killed in Afghanistan, do not let their blood be wasted”.
Adeleh Mohseni also added: “We must demand the terrorists be tried in The Hague Tribunal… How does the Taliban want to seriously remove itself from the blacklist?
The Taliban is not an idea, it is a project
Adeleh Mohseni continued: The Taliban is not an idea; It is a project that wants to imprison half the population. This project of the Taliban is a dirty political project whose victims are our women and girls. We must prevent it. The Taliban will commit more crimes after coming to power, but right now they are restrained because they want to take power first. The people of Afghanistan do not accept the Taliban. If the united nations do not support us,
We will witness devastating wars in which the people defend themselves with scythes and whatever they have.
Mohseni stressed: “Afghan women are awake and defend their values. The women’s movement in Afghanistan is 100 years old and we will rise again with the help of our neighbors”.
Adeleh Mohseni, in response to what Iranian civil society activists can do now, said: ” First, immediate assistance to women and children, 72,000 children have been displaced and need food, water, shelter and clothing. The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Afghanistan Red Cross must set up tents for the displaced.”
She added: “We call on the Iranian people to open schools to immigrant children. All the migrants who returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan had higher education. While the immigrants who came from Iran were workers and had addiction.
Girls over the age of nine are in danger of being raped
This women activist pointed to the disasters that happen to women and said: “Every family kills their own daughter so that it does not fall into the hands of the Taliban. The women and girls themselves tell their fathers and brothers to shoot them so that they do not fall into Taliban’s hands. In Takhar, the Taliban said that every family with two or three daughters should give one to the Taliban. In one case, a man, in order to protect his daughter, claimed he had two wives, but the Taliban took the man’s wife and said that you have two wives while the Mujahideen do not have any wives. All girls over the age of 9 are in danger of being raped. We must think about how to protect women and stop sexual violence and rape.”
She cited trafficking of women as one of other consequences of the Taliban presence: “We will see women being taken to brothels in Arab countries. The only way to save women is to raise our voices to prevent the legitimacy of the Taliban. The Taliban is a threat first to the region and second to the whole world.”
In another part of her speech, Mohseni referred to the role of Islamic scholars and said: “Why are the scholars of Al-Azhar in Egypt and the Islamic seminaries silent in the face of the crimes of the Taliban? Which behavior of the Taliban is Islamic?”
She added: “Each of us is a media and we are all responsible to the people of the region and Afghanistan. Whatever happens to an Afghan woman, it will happen to an Iranian woman later.”
The Taliban is not the problem of Afghanistan, it is the problem of the region and the world.
Homeira Saqib, a women activist and director of the Afghan Women’s News Agency, said: “The Taliban is the issue of the region and the whole world, not just Afghanistan. Currently, there are ISIS and Boko Haram besides the Taliban. And with the presence of the Taliban, the Afghan region will be a haven for regional terrorism. This issue should not be reduced to an internal issue of the country.”
Saqib pointed out the mistake of the Iranian government against the Taliban and said: “The Iranian government has acted very poorly in understanding the people of Afghanistan. Iran has decided to recognize the Taliban because of the water issue. Iran does not know the people of Afghanistan. This strengthens ISIS in the region. When these forces gain strength inside Afghanistan, Iran will also be in trouble. Afghan women are not the only ones at risk.”
The women activist added: “With serious analysis, we should be able to discuss the impact of the Taliban presence in the region and the world. We need to know that the Taliban are smuggling drugs to other countries, and this is harmful to the whole world.”
She talked about the consequences of the Taliban presence and said: “the Taliban will definitely begin the purge and we will again see the migration of intellectuals from Afghanistan, just like during Najib’s presidency.”
Women do not have access to health services
Kobra Baloch, another speaker at the meeting, added: “Women in the villages do not have bread to eat and can not leave home alone to shop. Women need a boy over twelve to leave home. Women who do not have a man at home are at risk.” She pointed to the current unstable situation and said that the price of bread is rising and women living in Taliban-occupied districts do not have access to health services. This women activist added that we call on all aid organizations to provide basic facilities for the people of Afghanistan, such as water, bread and health services.
In another part of her speech, Baluch referred to the role of the media and said: “The global media should cover the events in Afghanistan. Currently, all television programs in Afghanistan have been cut off and only Islamic programs are broadcast.
*During a clubhouse chat room titled: “The Afghanistan, The Taliban and Women”, Mobina Saei, Adeleh Mohseni, Homeira Saqib and Kobra Baloch, called on women activists around the world not to leave Afghanistan alone.