The Guardian

'The Taliban took years of my life': the Afghan women living in the shadow of war

Many women who lived under the Taliban’s misogynist rule are haunted by memories, especially as peace still feels elusive
Women watch a girls’ taekwondo match in Herat, Afghanistan, in 2014. Women were banned from participating in sports under the Taliban regime. Photograph: Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images

Homeira Qaderi was ironing her headscarf for school when her father came to tell her she would no longer need it, because the Taliban had captured her hometown. For the next five years the group’s harsh rules meant she barely left the house.

A generation of women have grown up in Afghanistan since the Taliban were toppled from power in 2001. But many of those who have guided the country through profound change, running schools, or as journalists or politicians, are haunted by memories of their brutal, misogynist rule.

“I cannot forget those years,” said Qaderi, 34, now a writer and activist who was recently. Her first venture into journalism, when the insurgents still controlled Herat, had brought a threat of a public lashing.

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