Afghan woman in Bengaluru fears for family in Herat

'Our dreams are shattered': Afghan woman in Bengaluru fears for her family back home

As 20 years of development in Afghanistan falls, Diana’s ambitions have taken a deep dive

28-year-old Diana Farzan came to India seven months back to do her post-graduation in Journalism and Public Relations at Bengaluru University. Credit: Diana Farzan

Diana Farzan’s dreams for a future in her country, where she enjoyed 20 years of freedom, were crushed the day the Taliban took over Afghanistan. She has no hopes left to be part of the nation-building process. To be a free and empowered woman in Afghanistan has turned into a mirage under the Taliban.

The 28-year-old came to India seven months back to do her post-graduation in Journalism and Public Relations at Bengaluru University. Like any other Afghan woman, she lives in a state of fear now, concerned for her family back home. “I am worried that my family back in Herat province will be harmed by Taliban as I taught Public Relations at Herat University in Afghanistan,” she says.

“Even while I was working there, our faculty at the Herat University used to receive threats from the Taliban because there were women faculty and women students,” Diana recollects.

Taliban knocking doors in search of those who worked with the US and NATO, and the former Afghan government has magnified Diana’s concerns. Her brothers are working in companies, which were run by the US and the UK, and her sister also has graduated from Herat University.

“Two weeks back, the Taliban had destroyed all the network and I couldn’t communicate with my family,” she says. But the network has been restored now and she is at least able to check on the safety of her family.

Read | All Afghans must travel to India only on e-visa: MHA

With the new regime saying that all foreign evacuations from the country must be completed by August 31, Diana hopes for an exit for her family from Afghanistan. “I want to take my family out of my country,” she says.

Taliban’s stifling of freedom and education for women and girls has been leaving women of Afghanistan choked. “These days when I speak with women back home, they tell me that life is not going to be the same anymore,” she said

All their motivation for their future -- for women to work and girls to study -- has gone after the taking over of the country by the Taliban.

“My friends who were working at the university don’t want to be in Afghanistan anymore,” she said.

The escape to freedom has been hazardous, to say the least. “People of Afghanistan does not feel it is a country to be living in anymore,” she said. “Many people have been waiting for days together to reach the airport from their homes.”

As the threat of a humanitarian crisis looms large, she says, “we need support from other countries.”

As 20 years of development in Afghanistan falls, Diana’s ambitions have taken a deep dive.

“Their return has shattered our dreams. We don’t want to make the mistake of living under them anymore.”

Diana recollects how has been through a lot to reach where she is today, but the way forward looks blurred.

“I overcame a whole lot of obstacles to be a lecturer, to be where I am now. I do not want to go back to Afghanistan, where I will have to sit at home without working," she said.

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