4 min read

"As if this was not enough they removed our flag from the Wazir Ahmad Khan square, and that felt as if my heart exploded into thousands of pieces"

"As if this was not enough they removed our flag from the Wazir Ahmad Khan square, and that felt as if my heart exploded into thousands of pieces"
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona / Unsplash

How was your life in Afghanistan before the Taliban took over?

For as long as I can remember I have been an activist for women's rights and democracy. I was very free,  I could be myself, and I worked within a field that I was passionate about. I lived a life like any other young adult, having many friends where we could do activities together. I also love fashion so shopping was my favorite thing to do.

How did you feel when the Taliban took over Afghanistan?

I believed that Afghanistan had the potential to become a country that would flourish because it is a country that is  multi-ethnic, it has a beautiful culture, people and landscapes.

Because we had 20 years of peace and thanks to that we were finally seeing results of our peoples hard work, and then the unthinkable happened.

I can't remember what I was doing the day when the Taliban started to take over cities in Afghanistan. The only thing I remember thinking was that I will never be free again. I will have my rights taken away from me because I am a woman, just like it had happened to my mother, I won't be able to continue to work, go out in public or show my face in public anymore. I would become a housewife, and be home bound for the rest of my life.

I thought about how the women and youths of Afghanistan who grew up during the 20 years of peace in our country had made many sacrifices and achievements with the aim to make Afghanistan free and peaceful.

For 20 years the youth of Afghanistan and the generations before us who were fighting for a better Afghanistan, had all struggled to make our country peaceful.

I remind you of this because it is so important to not neglect the hard work that we have been doing for so many years. And it gives me and every Afghan so much pain, that all the hard work and sacrifices were in vain.

Before the Taliban came, yes we had many challenges but back then we had hope. We still lost many youths in suicide bombings, women were still fighting for their rights and it was all because we had hope,we had freedom.

I have participated in many demonstrations for change in Afghanistan but it changed to something no one would have ever imagined. It changed to our biggest nightmare coming true, the Taliban coming back.

Zarmina Kakar. Image: Private
Zarmina Kakar. Image: Private

What happened to you when the Taliban came back?

I lost everything and what little I had left I was forced to abandon not just the materialistic things but the dreams and hopes for a better Afghanistan. I left it with everything I owned and fled the country.

Today all I think of is how naive I was to think that in my lifetime my country  will become peaceful, it will become a country where my country women would not become a child bride, sold like animals, beaten to death, where my country women would be just as equal as my country men. But now I feel like this may never happen.

·         What was it like leaving Afghanistan, what was the most difficult part?

Leaving my country was very difficult, especially the way I left Afghanistan, it was a nightmare I didn’t just leave my country I literally left everything and everyone behind.

All my certificates that I had received from my university, my scholarly awards, the gifts I received from my close friends and family on my birthday, I had bought colorful suits, dresses that I was looking forward to wearing. It just makes me so sad and I keep asking myself why me, why us, haven't we suffered enough?

The day I left Afghanistan I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye to my loved ones.

But the most difficult part for me was watching the Taliban take control of everything, things that I was so proud of. I had watched my country develop, we had diplomats in our country, we had politicians, highly educated people who I would see driving their cars around Kabul. And now I saw the Taliban driving those cars. It was a terrible sight, you see these barbaric men with their long unkempt beards, their ripped clothes, It made me feel sick to my stomach seeing these barbaric who had killed so many of my friends in suicide bombings, and here they were living off of our hard work.

As if this was not enough they removed our flag from the Wazir Ahmad Khan square, and that i tell you felt as if my heart exploded into thousands of pieces.

If felt like someone was sitting on my chest and I couldn’t breathe,.it felt as if a loved one was being killed right In front of my eyes and I can’t do anything.

·          What are your hopes for your future?

I always want to be hopeful, life without hope Is not just difficult but impossible, I am alive with having hope. Today not only afghans who left Afghanistan are homeless but also afghans in Afghanistan have become refugees in their own country.

We don’t have a flag anymore, we have no legitimate police force, our rights, our freedom, our home, everything we own is not ours anymore.

I am trying hard to find my hope and become stronger and raise my voice again for Afghanistan and my country women.

·         What Is your daily life like today compared to how it was in Afghanistan before you left?

Here in London I am experiencing new things, the culture, the history, and how different everything is from Afghanistan. It is hard to get used to everything here, But I am managing.

The most important thing for me is that I feel safe here.Thank god  I don't feel anxiety over having the Taliban break into my home and kill me or my family. I am not afraid when I am going out as I was in Afghanistan. Despite that I feel safe here I feel as if my soul is in unrest, but I am trying to be strong, for myself.