Zarifa Ghafari is waiting to be killed by the Taliban … will her fears come true?

The Taliban is on a charm offensive. Taliban leaders are publicly promising a kinder, gentler version of their governance in Afghanistan while events on the ground prove otherwise. Unfortunately for the people left in Afghanistan, some progressives are accepting their propaganda.

There have been many alarming statements made by members of the Biden administration this week, including remarks made by Joe Biden that one time he bothered to address the withdrawal of troops and personnel in Afghanistan. Before he went back to his vacation at Camp David, he said he wouldn’t have done anything differently. Yesterday we saw a White House briefing with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and a briefing with reporters at the State Department by spokesman Ned Price. For people listening outside the United States, the level of incompetence and borderline indifference being displayed by the administration must be a real eye-opener. Remember, Joe Biden has been crowing “America’s back!” since he came into office. The grown-ups are supposed to be in charge, the people with all that governing experience. What a disaster.

The Taliban held a press conference yesterday. Besides concern for Afghans in general, there is an international concern for women and children in Afghanistan specifically. While Jake Sullivan said the decision-makers in the administration were “clear-eyed”, it is hard to square the events on the ground with what the reality is becoming on the ground. This administration’s spokespeople won’t even say, unequivocally, that they will be able to evacuate Americans and Afghan support personnel before the Taliban stop allowing flights out of Kabul. The administration had to make side deals with the Taliban to ensure the departure of those who have done so already. Just think about that. The world’s greatest military power has to cut deals with the Taliban to get Americans out of the country.

So, what is to happen to the women and children in Afghanistan? One woman knows what is coming and she is telling her story. Twenty-seven-year-old Zarifa Ghafari is the first woman elected as a mayor and the youngest mayor. She leads the city of Maidan Sharh in central Afghanistan. She and her family are staying put because she says they have nowhere to go. She is now waiting to be killed, to put it bluntly. Senior members of the Afghan government have fled the country, including the president, but others like Ghafari are left to fend for themselves.

“I’m sitting here waiting for them to come. There is no one to help me or my family. I’m just sitting with them and my husband. And they will come for people like me and kill me. I can’t leave my family. And anyway, where would I go?”

The Taliban have frequently threatened to kill her because she is an outspoken critic. She remained optimistic about the future of Afghanistan until recent days.

Ms Ghafari, 27, rose to prominence in 2018 by becoming the youngest mayor in Afghanistan (and one of the first female first citizens) in Maidan Wardak province. The Taliban has frequently vowed to kill the articulate, politically influential female critic. Her father General Abdul Wasi Ghafari was gunned down on 15 November last year, just 20 days after the third attempt on her life failed.

With the Taliban resurgent and her public profile rising, Ms Ghafari was given a job in the relative safety of the defence ministry in Kabul, with responsibility for the welfare of soldiers and civilians injured in terror attacks.

Three weeks ago, Ms Ghafari said: “Younger people are aware of what’s happening. They have social media. They communicate. I think they will continue fighting for progress and our rights. I think there is a future for this country.”

The Taliban promised amnesty to Afghans who worked for the government. She knows that will not happen. The same holds true for assurances coming from the Taliban that women and children will be protected. Sharia law will be enforced. Under Sharia law, women must be covered in public, only leave their homes if accompanied by a male relative, and girls are sold into marriage as young as 14 years of age.

Most frustrating in all this is the naivety on display from those just looking to cover their own careers. They are willfully repeating assurances by the Taliban as though it will become reality.

Ghafari slammed the U.N.Secretary-General for finally admitting the reports already coming out about the Taliban’s abuse of women and children.

The same day as her reprimand to the U.N. Secretary-General, another tweet from that day, August 14, voiced her commitment to remaining in Afghanistan and her hopes for the country.

There are not any newer tweets on her account.

None of this had to happen. Now thousands of Americans are trapped in Afghanistan and the Biden administration admits it doesn’t even know how many. Americans and Afghans seeking evacuation outside of Kabul are finding it impossible to travel there and get to the airport. One truly alarming admission yesterday from Team Biden is the fact that Biden hadn’t spoken with any world leaders since this all began. Apparently, someone told him the blowback he was receiving from all sides after that and it was quickly announced later that he called Prime Minister Boris Johnson. World leaders have voiced their disbelief over the events in Afghanistan. Joe Biden desperately wants to be a member of their club so that must have shamed him into picking up the phone to call Johnson.

Godspeed Zarifa Ghafari.

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