Kabul will not fall, I said to myself, the Afghan security forces will not give up. How is it possible for the Taliban to rule our city again after 20 years of our investment, construction and struggle? So what happens to all the efforts of foreigners and our efforts? This democracy, this institutionalization, this amount of money that Americans have spent fighting terrorism; Is it possible that everything is in vain and wasted? When the Taliban came to ruel Afghanistan again, all my plans were turned upside down. All members of my family have lost their jobs, homes and even their land. The worst news of my life was when I heard that the Taliban had invaded Kabul. I was shocked how we lost our country so quickly, I was very sad and cried for my family and my people. I couldn’t sleep at night at that time because I was very afraid of them. The Taliban searched our home twice and arrested my brother and interrogated him for several hours.
I am one of the journalists who grew up, studied and worked in Afghanistan for the last 20 years after the Taliban first took power and were defeated.
My reports have been published on various issues, including women’s and human rights issues, taking a position against the Taliban’s values and beliefs. I have always fought for women and gender equality in society. My work has been recognized several times by the Afghan Parliament. Before Kabul fell to the Taliban again, I had decided to continue my master’s degree in Politics and Public Administration in Turkey. In July 2021 I left my home country on a student visa. When journalists and civil society activists were mysteriously and deliberately killed in Kabul. Most of the provinces of Afghanistan had felt in the hands of the Taliban.
Life in exile is very painful. You cannot meet your family members and you cannot return to your home country. I live in a rented house with two girls from Kazakhstan in Istanbul, Turkey. It’s difficult to find housing in a metropolis, and for me it’s even more difficult because some Turks don’t rent their houses to immigrants and singles. I have no job and no income. no one hears me Our future is uncertain, I cannot return to Afghanistan for the time being. For me, having lived in Afghanistan, immigration is very difficult. Because our culture and language are very different and it takes time to integrate into a different society and being separated from my home country and family has made me very sad.
I really wanted to return to Afghanistan after my studies in Turkey and work for my people and my country. After the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, my plans changed. My goal is now just to survive and not to return to Afghanistan for a while.
Being a journalist was the ideal job for me to achieve my goals. But the office was shut down when the Taliban took over Afghanistan last August, and the outlet now publishes online. The Taliban prevent girls from returning to schools and universities and prevented Afghan women from working outside the home. I was among the Afghan women who are forbidden from going to university and working.
Luckily I went to Turkey before Afghanistan collapsed and currently live in Istanbul. Focusing on my studies was challenging at first as my thoughts went back to my family and country. But I’ve made a commitment to continue my education online and stay positive. It has been very difficult for me to return to the life, focus and attention I once had, but I continue to try and make an effort to do so.
The situation for Afghan refugees in Turkey is getting worse every day. The Turkish government deports Afghans in groups and brings them back to Afghanistan. This problem worries me, some of the women are now staying at home, some have stopped studying, some have been internally resettled and some have fled to other countries. With the arrival of the Taliban, Afghan women and girls lost their basic rights.