A new generation is slowly coming to terms with the reality that they may not be able to pursue the life they expected. Girls and women who had started to feel like normal human beings are being forced to become prisoners in their homes again. Men and women, young and old, are all living in a state of fear and trauma, with poverty and unemployment soaring. Many of our people, including me, now believe only a miracle can save us.
Ms. Gailani is a political leader and women’s rights activist who previously served as president of the Afghan Red Crescent Society.
I was one of four women who participated in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan 2020 peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar. During those talks, I saw how hope for peace had faded and the power of the Taliban over the country. But even now I am not convinced that negotiations are hopeless.
People like to dismiss politics, but over the past 40 years I have seen that — without a political solution — we always lose. Watching the country collapse and fall under Taliban control was very difficult. It was a pure act of force.
In my lifetime, I have witnessed the communists take power. I have witnessed the mujahedeen take power. I have now witnessed the Taliban take power. All of these attempts at government have ultimately failed because they haven’t had the support of the people.
In order to form a true Afghan government, the Afghan people have to be involved. I envision a government where everyone has a real say, where the government is shaped by the people themselves. If the Taliban will not listen to the Afghan people, if they do not see reality, they will lose. The only way forward is through unity. Our country needs to be repaired. We need to come together.
Nahid Shahalimi is an Afghan activist, filmmaker and author and the editor of the forthcoming collection “We Are Still Here: Afghan Women on Courage, Freedom, and the Fight to Be Heard.”
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