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‘We Must Stay Strong’

by Sakina Rezvani October 25, 2021

This story was published in partnership with Rukhshana Media and The Fuller Project.

Editor’s note: This story was produced in partnership with Rukhshana Media and is part of The Fuller Project’s ongoing series, “Ending America’s Forever War: What is next for Afghan women?”, documenting what the end of America’s longest war on foreign soil means for the women who have lived through it. Follow The Fuller Project’s continuing coverage here.

Kabul is not safe for girls these days, although the city seems to be calm. But I am afraid of the current silence and calm ruling the city. I do not feel good about it at all. It is like the calm before the storm.

After 12 years of studying, I graduated from high school last year. I passed the Kankor [university entry] exam and succeeded to study pharmacy. This year was supposed to be the first year of my university, which I had thought about many times, the year that I had planned to achieve a lot. However, I am not supposed to go to university anymore because the Taliban have banned women from attending universities and schools. The Taliban know that they cannot control women who are educated, as they will not submit to darkness and ignorance.

For more than a month now, I have been busy following the news online, and when I get tired of the news that has nothing but sadness for me, I stand by the window of my room and, like a captive bird, with a thousand regrets, I look outside.

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There have been many days when happy and smiling women and girls are no longer passing through our street. I am heartbroken to look at our secluded road where the sounds of women’s footsteps are no longer breaking its silence. Unlike in the past, when half of the people passing by were happy and proud girls, these days, rarely does a girl walk by. It seems that all the girls in our neighborhood have been locked up in their homes, and it is not clear when they will be released.

Even the handful of women and girls who still pass by are different. Changes can be seen in the clothing and even their behavior. They hide behind the shadow of their mandatory hijab for fear that a Taliban member might see them outside the house. Several other women have taken refuge in the holes of their burqas just to survive.

It pains me to see young girls no longer walk with pride and confidence like they did before. The Taliban have taken everything away from women and girls. These days Kabul girls walk slowly, cautiously, and look around with fear after a few steps so that a Taliban member will not hit them with a cable or metal rod.

One can see the lack of spirit and courage in the behavior of Kabul girls. One can see that they have lost their peace of mind. Although the city seems safe, fear and chaos have penetrated the minds of all women and girls.

Brave women and girls of the motherland! We must stay strong and not lose our spirits. We should not allow the history of ignorance and darkness to be imposed on us. We must stay strong!

Sakina Rezvani, 19, is an aspiring student. Translation by Sahar Fetrat.

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