“If I return to Afghanistan, the Taliban will kill me; I’m prepared to stay in a prison in Karachi than face those ruthless people,” said 24-year-old Afghan refugee, Sabrina Zalmai*, referring to the recent crackdown on hundreds of Afghans residing without proper documents in the metropolis, who are being arrested and then deported back to Afghanistan.
Maliha looks confident in a café in Athens as she tells the story of her journey from Afghanistan to Europe. But as she starts recounting how a smuggler assaulted her in Turkey two years ago, she pauses, looking the other way and fiddling with her loose hair.
Afghan refugees living in Pakistan face a host of problems, ranging from seeking medical treatment to shelter, business, police harassment and violence. Many of those affected have been there for four decades.
“We came here in 1979 after Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan. My children and grandchildren have grown up here and they don’t want to go back to that war-ravaged country. I go there occasionally to mourn the deaths of near and dear ones,” says Muhammad Jabbar, 67, a former resident of Kabul, capital of Afghanistan.
The arrest of Afghan musicians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan has elicited protests from local politicians, artists and rights activists who demand their release and say they should be allowed to stay as refugees.
The late-night reversal of a decision by Taliban authorities in Afghanistan to allow girls from grades 7 to 12 to return to school has been met with distress from within the country and internationally – and fear that it could herald further restrictions.
After leading a landmark, first-ever all-women mission to Afghanistan last week, Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, says that schools must reopen for all children and that girls, in particular, must be able to return to secondary school classrooms.
Secondary schools have reopened for boys but remain closed to the vast majority of girls.
Women are banned from most employment; the Taliban government added insult to injury by saying women in their employ could keep their jobs only if they were in a role a man cannot fill—such as being an attendant in a women’s toilet
. Women are mostly out of university, and due to new restrictions it is unclear when and how they can return. Many female teachers have been dismissed
Education Cannot Wait Director Yasmine Sherif urged the world to support their efforts to provide education to children living in Afghanistan – in what she called the “biggest humanitarian crisis” on earth.
“If I fall into the hands of the Taliban, not only me but my family will be killed,” said AB, 23*, who worked as a broadcast journalist for the past seven years and is a well-known face on the television screen.
While Afghanistan ends a historic year, filled with the hope for peace as the government and Taliban sat down for almost three months of consecutive peace talks for the first time in 19 years, it was also a year filled with violence with provisional statistics by the United Nations showing casualties for this year being higher than 2019.
Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the United Nations this week launched a U.N. group that aims to put women at the centre of peace initiatives in Afghanistan.
Too many children are dying as a result of explosive weapons, and the international community must step up to protect and declare children off limits in war.
"I never come here, just because of boys," Atifa says, pointing at the door of the stall. "They're opening the door." Atifa, a sixth grader in Kabul, Afghanistan, attends a school of 650 girls. Since they study in tents in a vacant lot, the only toilets the girls have access to are on the far side of the boys' school next door. The school is one of a very few for girls in the area, so some students walk over an hour each way to get there.
On Sunday, June 5, three reporters were killed: Somali broadcast journalist Sagal Salad Osman, Aghan journalist Zabihullah Tamanna, and American photojournalist David Gilkey.
Land mines are not the only type of explosive devices that families returning home after conflicts risk stumbling across, representatives from the UN’s Mine Action Service (UNMAS) told journalists here Monday.
Women constitute nearly half of the country's 1.25 billion people and gender equality -- whether in politics, economics, education or health -- is still a distant dream for most. This fact was driven home again sharply by the recently released United National Development Programme’s Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 which ranks India at a lowly 130 out of 155 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII). India trails behind most Asian countries, including lesser developed Bangladesh and Pakistan which rank 111 and 121 respectively, and fares not much ahead of war-ravaged Afghanistan at 152.
In November 2015 I visited Syria together with an International Peace delegation. This was my third visit to Syria in the last three years. As on previous occasions I was moved by the spirit of resilience and courage of the people of Syria.
The appalling crisis ravaging the Middle East and striking terror around the world is a clear challenge to the West, but responses are uncoordinated. This is due on the one hand to divergent analyses of the situation, and on the other to conflicting interests.