DOHA: A group of Afghan women too young to remember the Taliban’s rule from 1996 to 2001 is facing the same anguish experienced by relatives after the organization retook control of Afghanistan, forcing many to leave.
“We’re going back to darkness,” one of the university students evacuated to Qatar said, describing emotions of anxiousness and fear. He, like others, declined to reveal details that could identify them or their families back home for security reasons.
“It’s all the things we heard from our parents and grandparents, and at the time it was just a story, but now it’s like a nightmare,” a second woman explained.
The four Reuters interviewees are among hundreds of Afghan students, largely women, who have been relocated to the Gulf Arab state.
When the Taliban were in control, they rigidly enforced their ultra-conservative version of Sunni Islam, which included prohibiting women from attending school or working.
Many people are skeptical of terrorist groups’ claims that women’s rights will be protected under Islamic law this time.
“Everyone knows how horrible and brutal that era was,” the second woman told Reuters inside a Doha residential facility housing evacuees of all nationalities.
She stated that she did not feel there were enough female teachers in Afghanistan to support the Taliban’s insistence on gender-segregated schools.
The women claimed that the Taliban’s ideals were alien to them and that they would not return to Afghanistan as long as the Taliban maintained authority, even under a power-sharing administration.
“I feel like I don’t belong in this country anymore, and I can’t get it back because the situation is becoming worse by the day,” the third woman stated.
“It took us 20 years to construct our country, and now everything has crumbled,” said another woman.
The third woman stated that she attempted to bring a piece of dirt with her, but it was misplaced in her luggage at Kabul airport. Her passport is now all she has to remind her of Afghanistan.
She had no idea where she would live, but she was determined to find a new home and finish her education.
“I will do anything I can… because I don’t see a future in Afghanistan.”