Where is Zarifa Ghafari? First Afghan female mayor 'awaits her death' with no help coming
As the Taliban is all set to rule Afghanistan again after 20 years, women and girls fear a return of the 'dark days'. Although, the Taliban 'promised' to keep a 'moderate stance' over women rights in the country this time, 'reminders' from the last time when they ruled Afghanistan tell a different tale altogether. Women were deprived of basic human rights, with laws like 'no education for girls over 12 years of age', 'a man must accompany a woman while going out of the house', or ' women accused of adultery or protesting against Taliban's 'shariya' laws are stoned to death' during the last reign of Taliban over Afghanistan.
Afghan women have always been targeted for speaking out or protesting against Taliban's 'inhumane' laws or simply for holding positions of authority. As most senior government officials including president Ghani fled the country amidst the Taliban insurgency, Zarifa Ghafari, 27 who was Afghanistan's youngest and the first female mayor in Wardak province is left in the capital without any help.
As the Taliban assumed control over Kabul on Sunday, August 15, Ghafari spoke to iNews and said, "I’m sitting here waiting for them to come. There is no one to help me or my family. I’m just sitting with them and my husband. And they will come for people like me and kill me. I can’t leave my family. And anyway, where would I go?" Zarifa Ghafari rose to fame in 218 as she became Afghanistan's first female mayor. It is important to note here that since then, there have been numerous attempts by the Taliban to kill the female politician. Not only that, Ghafari's father General Abdul Wasi Ghafari was fatally shot on 15 November 2020, just a few days after the third attempt on her life failed.
With the Taliban resurgent and the evident danger on her life, Ghafari was given a job in the relative safety of the defence ministry in Kabul, with responsibility for the welfare of soldiers and civilians injured in terror attacks. Now, Zarifa Ghafari is left in Kabul without any help as she couldn't in flee in time to escape the 'claws' of the Taliban. On the other hand, the Taliban’s chief spokesman 'promised' that the lives of women and opponents would be protected on Sunday, August 15. The insurgents further noted that they were seeking a 'peaceful transfer of power' and that they’d offer an “amnesty” to those who worked with the Afghan government or foreign forces. "No one’s life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk," the Taliban said in a statement.