Gulafroz Ebtekar: Top Afghan cop on the run after being brutally beaten by Taliban
'After me, about 4,000 Afghan women entered police universities. I'm not afraid to speak openly, because I have nothing left,' she said on the run
A few weeks ago, 34-year-old Gulafroz Ebtekar was a role model hailed by hundreds of Afghan women. She redefined the gender barriers and created history as the first woman in Afghanistan to graduate from the police academy with a Master's degree. She went on to become the deputy head of criminal investigations in the Interior Ministry, setting an example for many to follow. However, her dreams lay shattered with the return of Taliban, as she was brutally beaten by the militants while trying to flee the country.
A group of Taliban militants singled her out at the Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul, before being beaten up with weapons and stones. She is believed to be on the run at present as she fears for her life and the safety of her family members. Ebtekar reportedly approached the embassies of several countries including the US but was turned away. As the final US evacuation flight left Afghanistan, Taliban fighters reportedly took out victory parades and celebrated mock 'funerals' of UK, US, French and NATO troops.
Where is Gulafroz Ebtekar?
The whereabouts of Ebtekar are currently uncertain as she is making desperate attempts to save herself from being executed by the Taliban, reports Daily Mail. She had narrated her traumatizing ordeal on the fateful night she attempted to leave the country. "I sent messages to the embassies of many countries to save myself and my family, but all to no avail," she stated, adding that she spent five nights outside the gates of Kabul airport trying to secure a seat on an evacuation flight.
"We got to the refugee camp where the Americans were stationed. When the American soldiers were already near, I exhaled, I thought we were finally safe. I speak a little English. I explained that it was not safe for us to remain in Kabul. They checked our documents. I had my ID, passport, and police certificates with me. We were asked: 'Where do you want to go?' I replied: 'It doesn't matter, to a safe country where there is a chance we may survive'.
They looked at me and answered quite impudently: 'Okay'. And they asked one soldier to show us the way. I thought they would escort us to a plane or provide security," she revealed.
After being escorted to a crowded street the soldier reportedly raised his weapon and threatened her to "get out" of there. "At that moment, I didn't want to live anymore," she remarked. Later, Ebtekar returned home with her efforts all gone in vain when her mother informed that the Taliban came looking for her. She moved three flats one after another to stay out of the Taliban's radar. When she tried to escape to Kabul airport again, she was caught by the Taliban and brutally assaulted.
Ebtekar had once dreamed of changing people's lives in Afghanistan. She pursued a master's degree at a Russian police academy in Moscow, a rare feat for an Afghan woman. Upon her return to Afghanistan, she landed a prestigious job in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. "I became Deputy Chief for Criminal Investigations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Afghanistan. I spoke on television, spoke out on social networks, fought against extremism, terrorism, advocated for the rights of women and children and believed in the best for our country. After me, about 4,000 Afghan women entered police universities. I'm not afraid to speak openly, because I have nothing left," Ebtekar said, adding that she was 'warned' by the Taliban six months before they took over the country.
"The Taliban wrote me letters in which they said that I should not work in the police, that I had no right to declare about women's rights. What are women's rights? Why do you publish your photos on Facebook and Instagram? These are the comments I received from them a year or six months ago. And now they are in power. I think the Taliban will never change. They will not agree for a woman to work, participate in public life, and be free," Ebtekar warned. Now, as she lives with the fear of death at every moment, she felt, "The state of Afghanistan no longer exists, there is no freedom. All the time I fought to maintain a normal life in the country."