‘Pakistan is Feeding the Taliban, and the UN is Silent’: Afghan Activist

The bloody conflict in Afghanistan, which also saw the death of Pulitzer-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui last week, continues unabated. Activist Mary Akrami, who is the director of the Afghan Women Skills Development Center, spoke to CNN-News18 about the grim situation in the country, the Taliban’s advances, Pakistan’s role, and the condition of women and journalists in the war-ravaged nation. Edited excerpts:

What is the situation in Afghanistan right now?

It’s an uncertain situation. We really do not know why such a situation came about… If the war continues, then we really don’t know what will be there for us in the future. The situation is very tense and nobody is speaking for us. No one is raising our issues. Pakistan is feeding the Taliban while others are silent. Why is nobody making them accountable? The UN is absolutely silent on this. Why?

What is the condition of women over there?

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In areas that the Taliban have captured, they are asking women not to come out of their homes. Now, it’s difficult to reach out to women and save them. We are getting news that they are making lists of women in every area in the age group of 18 to 45…The Taliban have to respect women and stop the violence. Women have to be given respect as citizens, at least. So my request to the international community is, “please do something”.

Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was recently killed in Afghanistan. Are other members of the media working there at risk? What’s the situation of the media there?

Whatever happened with Danish is very disappointing for us as the Taliban have to understand that they have to respect journalists. They (the Taliban) are against humanity. We are upset that Danish lost his life. Where will this end? The media is in a difficult situation.

Is it true that the Taliban have captured a major part of Afghanistan?

I don’t think it is true that they have captured so much… Surely they are trying to increase their presence. The Taliban is a reality here. The fact that nobody is holding them accountable is something that is making them bolder.

How long do you see this going on? Do you think things will change?

Enough is enough. If things do not fall into place, then everything will go out of hand. So it’s high time that the international community helps us.

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