Afghan women leaving country in anticipation of eventual Taliban takeover

Selay Ghaffar, chief executive of the Kabul-based NGO Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan, says many young women are leaving. “They see no future for themselves in Afghanistan so the bright ones are seeking scholarships or work abroad. We have had two schools for girls burned down near the capital in recent days, acid attacks on girls going to school, increasing stories of rape and of kidnap.

“Many NGOs who try to help women have been killed. Billions of dollars from international organisations have been poured into Afghanistan and ended up in the pockets of male politicians, while women are left to feel insecure in their own land. For those who cannot leave, it is sending them back into the home; many women are deciding to stop work.

“During the first few years after international troops entered the country a lot of things changed in Afghanistan,” she said. “There was positive progress and change in the day-to-day lives of many Afghan women. Unfortunately, since 2007, things changed dramatically as insecurity has increased [and] discrimination against women at all levels has increased. Life has become more difficult for women but they are not willing to be pushed back into the box.