London: Shocked by the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Pakistani activist and youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has expressed “deep concern” for women, minorities, and human rights advocates living in the conflict-torn country.
The 24-year-old rights activist, who was shot in the head by Taliban militants in Pakistan’s Swat region in 2012 for her campaign for girls’ education, urged global and regional powers to call for an immediate ceasefire and provide assistance to civilians in Afghanistan.
“We watch in disbelief as the Taliban seizes control of Afghanistan. I am deeply concerned about women, minorities, and advocates for human rights “On Sunday, she tweeted.
“Global, regional, and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, urgent humanitarian aid, and protection for refugees and civilians,” wrote Malala, who now lives in the United Kingdom.
The long-running war in Afghanistan reached a tipping point on Sunday, when Taliban insurgents closed in on Kabul before entering the city and seizing the presidential palace, forcing embattled President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country alongside fellow citizens and foreigners.
Following the collapse of the two remaining cities, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad, Taliban insurgents began moving towards Kabul.
Malala was shot at by local Taliban militants in December 2012 for her female education campaigning in northeastern Pakistan’s Swat Valley.
She was severely injured and was airlifted from one military hospital in Pakistan to another before being flown to the United Kingdom for treatment. Following the attack, the Taliban issued a statement stating that if Malala survived, she would be targeted again.
Malala became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, at the age of 17, when she shared the prestigious award with India’s social activist Kailash Satyarthi.
After being unable to return to Pakistan following her recovery, the famed activist relocated to the United Kingdom, where she established the Malala Fund and supported local education advocacy groups in Pakistan, Nigeria, Jordan, Syria, and Kenya.
She began her campaign at the age of 11 when she began writing a blog for the BBC’s Urdu service in 2009 about life under the Taliban in Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where girls’ education was prohibited.
Malala graduated from the prestigious Oxford University in June of last year with a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics.
Islamist militants took over the area in 2007 and imposed a harsh rule. Opponents were killed, people were publicly flogged for alleged violations of Sharia law, women were barred from going to market, and girls were barred from attending school.
The Taliban, who are anti-girl education, have destroyed hundreds of schools in Pakistan.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, but following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the militant group’s brutal regime came to an end when they were deposed by US-led forces in 2001.
The group, on the other hand, has been on the offensive in recent months and has now retaken power.