Kabul Diaries Part 8: Kabul is a spooky town now

September 1, 2021
Children in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2019 by Laura Quagliuolo
Children play in the rubble, Kabul, 2019. Photo: Laura Quagliuolo

The daily Jeddojehad (Struggle), a left-wing online Urdu-language paper is posting reports from Kabul. Filed by Yasmeen Afghan (not the author’s real name), these reports depict picture from inside Kabul and cover what is often ignored in the mainstream media.

* * *

Posted on August 31, 2021:

Two weeks have passed since the fall of Kabul. The Taliban have the whole of Afghanistan under their control apart from Punjshir. The uncertainty of the situation is taking a drastic toll on the population. People from all over Afghanistan are trying to flee as they fear they will be either persecuted or live under the harsh conditions of the Taliban.

The scene on Afghan television and radio has changed over this time. No music is played on air, and in southern Afghanistan it was announced by the Taliban that no music and female voices should be played on air. Very few women can be seen on the streets as many prefer to stay at home. Men and women have started wearing more traditional attires even though the Taliban have not introduced any dress code officially, but some have already been beaten or humiliated for wearing jeans and suits.

Fatima (not her real name), a resident of the west of Kabul told me: "As I cannot go back to my university, I started sewing to pass my time. If I don’t keep myself busy, then I might go crazy with all that is happening around me."

The Taliban have announced that universities can restart with classes segregated by gender, and female teachers can only teach female students or elder men.

Aziza (not her real name) said to me on mobile: "This is my last year of university. I wanted to become an English teacher. There are very few female teachers, and this means we will have to wait for an uncertain period of time."

Najia (not her real name), a resident of Kabul, said in a conversation with me: "This is just an excuse to exclude women from public life. This strategy was implemented from 1996‒2001."

Ibrahim (not his real name), a resident of the west of Kabul, told me: "How can we trust them? They have gone back on many of the promises already. We are being thrown back in time instead of going forward."

Schools are open up to grade 6 at the moment. Many fear that it will stay this way for an uncertain period of time.

Ajmal, a shopkeeper, said to me: "I have no hope for the future of my children. I was working hard so that my daughters could go to university but now they cannot. One of them passed the university entrance exam but now she has to stay home."

Hadi, another shopkeeper stated: "Is this what Afghans deserved? Fear is gripping us. It's a ghost city. Nobody asked us what we wanted for our country. They just impose people on us."

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.