KABUL, AFGHANISTAN –– “We are lost,” Fariha Easar said.
Easar described living through the recapturing of her home in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, during a phone interview with the Marion Chronicle-Tribune the morning of Monday, Aug. 16, at 9 a.m. EST and 5:30 p.m. local time.
The Taliban seized control of Kabul Sunday morning, Aug. 15. Part of Kabul died that day, and the dreams of many women died with it.
“It is an intense time,” Easar said. “We live in a very challenging and very difficult time ... we are stuck.”
Easar, a lawyer, human rights defender, researcher and social activist, researches peace and Islamic feminism.
Easar is certain of one thing – her life is soon to change, “but hope is still an option.” When saying this she peered out of her window and saw the streets of Kabul, a billboard with the photo of a female model being taken down.
When US troops came to Afghanistan in 2001 and worked to eradicate the Taliban, Afghan women were given the right to an education, to work and to move about the world without a male relative attending as their guardian. For most women, this was their first chance at freedom, Easar explained.
Under the Taliban retaking, Easar fears a return to the days before the US occupation for Afghan women. Many are hopeless, but in the face of her circumstances, Easar remains steadfast.
“Yes, I am ready to die standing up, but I will never surrender to the bloodthirsty and savage terrorists,” Easar said. “Endurance and resistance are the guarantee for the life and survival of the country and the people and getting out of the difficult situation we are in today. Good days are coming …days to learn again and to wish again.”
For some though, finding hope is proving to be a challenge.
Afghan men feel the burden of this transpiring in Afghanistan, as well. Zia Majeed, a pediatric doctor who also resides in Kabul, worries for his wife. Majeed spoke to the Chronicle-Tribune on the afternoon of Aug. 16, by phone around 11:30 a.m. EST and 8 p.m. local time.
“We cannot live under the Taliban,” Majeed said. “Many women will not receive an education ... they can’t walk alone ... we [Afghanistan people] cannot live in this situation.”
As the Afghan people grapple with an unstable reality, questions for global leaders arise. In turn, frustrations surface, she indicated.
“Nobody cares what we suffer from, shame on all so-called leaders,” Easar said.
Majeed echoes a similar sentiment, heeding a call for America. “The biggest fear is that our country will go back to the blackness it was in … please, please America, do not leave us alone.”
For many Americans, the Afghan story is intangible and out of reach. But for ordinary Afghans, remaining hopeful is a daily fight.
Easar finished her thoughts, saying: “If I stay alive, we will talk soon,” Easar said.
Kyla Russell is a multimedia journalism student at Taylor University, where she serves as co-editor of The Echo’s News section. She interned this summer at the Turkish Heritage Organization, Washington D.C., where she hosted a podcast and served on the press and media team.