Afghanistan: The nightmare returns to my homeland


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Arezo Younes fled Afghanistan with her family 20 years ago. She is currently a student at Western Sydney University.

Now living safely in Sydney, I remember when the Taliban came into our apartment in Kabul to arrest my mother. Her crime: teaching girls and women.

My father died of cancer when I was one. Mum had to work during the Taliban’s reign to earn money and keep her four children alive. The Taliban would jail or even ­execute women for working.

My family escaped Afghanistan and settled in Australia, but there are thousands and thousands of women like my mother and girls like myself now facing life under Taliban rule.

Afghanistan is where I took my first breath and lived long enough to have memories that keep transporting me back to my homeland.

My heart now feels heavy and my body is numb.

I am hurt, shocked, and emotional and cannot do anything but think of ordinary people who are caught in Afghanistan’s renewed hell. It could have been me there too.

I couldn’t sleep until 4:00am on Monday, thinking: how could they sell us out so easily? We’ve been sold to our biggest enemies, the devils who hold our lives as having little to no value. We’ve been sold to forces that spent years thirsty for Afghan blood. Seeing freedom’s enemies posting “Happy Independence Day Afghanistan” on social media makes my blood boil.

Why did America betray us after 20 years of hard work and bloodshed? So many innocent Afghan civilians lost their lives in this fight for freedom. I cannot stop my tears, let alone explain what has happened to my five-year-old son who repeatedly asks why his mother is crying.

Memories of what happened when I was a little girl in Kabul under ­Taliban rule come flooding back as I try to explain to my son why I am so emotional.

Afghan leaders and their families enjoy luxurious lives abroad while the innocent people of my country are sacrificed.

Families escaped their towns after being invaded by the Taliban and ran to Kabul hoping for safety. Now that Taliban have taken over, they are homeless with nowhere to hide, and no walls to protect them. What is going to happen to them?

Tears disturb me as I write. It hurts to see Afghans on social media posting our beautiful black, red and green flag. I want to see those colours forever. Instead, the white Taliban flag now flies from Parliament House in Kabul.

The Taliban used to hit women on the streets for going out without a husband or an older son. I saw this.

They would question every man and woman seen together to make sure that under Taliban law they were Halal for each other, and if one of them answered questions differently they would be shot or stoned to death immediately.

The white flag stands for that. It also stands for not being allowed to watch TV, go to movies or listen to music. Children were not allowed to watch cartoons. We couldn’t connect with the world and raise our voices. We had nothing.

I wish that I was never born to witness the Taliban’s revival. It’s heartbreaking to see my beloved country in the hands of the enemy.

Why doesn’t our blood seem to count? Don’t we deserve to live in peace? Where is the United Nations or human rights commissions?

It will soon be again as it was when I was a little girl in Kabul. They will shut the school doors and every other door of hope for women throughout Afghanistan.


This article was previously published in The Daily Telegraph