With a reported 85,000 Taliban fighters across Afghanistan capturing over 200 of the total 400 districts and the US intelligence warning of the fall of the capital Kabul in the next 30 to 60 days, women and children are the country’s most vulnerable and threatened group.
At 18.9 million women and girls constitute about 48 percent of Afghanistan’s total population of 48.7 million. Historically, at least in the last four decades or so, they have been at the receiving end of the country’s slide into violent, medieval misogyny led by the Taliban. Mahbouba Seraj is among the strongest advocates of the Afghan women and children’s rights. The 73-year-old activist living in Kabul since 2003, having returned home after 23-year-long exile in America and elsewhere, is deeply worried about what is to come.
Although she concedes that there has been considerable advance in the empowerment of young women and girls over the last decade and a half, she is unsure what the dramatic US troops withdrawal from her country would engender for them.
In an interview with Mayank Chhaya Reports from Kabul Mahbouba Seraj painted a deeply grim picture of a country that has barely known peace since the late 1970s.