I fear for my Afghan sisters

Malala Yousafzai, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt at age 15 in 2012 for promoting education among girls, writes that the Taliban's return to power is a foreboding sign for all girls and women in Afghanistan.

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Columnists

August 18, 2021 - 9:50 AM

Malala Yousafzai/COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG

In the last two decades, millions of Afghan women and girls received an education. Now the future they were promised is dangerously close to slipping away. The Taliban — who until losing power 20 years ago barred nearly all girls and women from attending school and doled out harsh punishment to those who defied them — are back in control. Like many women, I fear for my Afghan sisters.

I cannot help but think of my own childhood. When the Taliban took over my hometown in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in 2007 and shortly thereafter banned girls from getting an education, I hid my books under my long, hefty shawl and walked to school in fear. Five years later, when I was 15, the Taliban tried to kill me for speaking out about my right to go to school.

I cannot help but be grateful for my life now. After graduating from college last year and starting to carve out my own career path, I cannot imagine losing it all — going back to a life defined for me by men with guns.

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