Europe

Youngest Afghan mayor urges end to dialogue with Taliban government

She was one of the first women mayors in Afghanistan and the youngest to be appointed at the age of 26.

The death threats, assassination attempts and the murder of her father didn’t stop Zarifa Ghafari from doing her job.

But, last August, after the Taliban swept to power, the former Mayor of Maidan Shar – a city in Afghanistan – was forced to leave her country.

“The day Kabul fell…I saw how everything changed within hours, it was a shock. It is a shock, and it will remain a shock,” Ghafari told Euronews.

She managed to flee with her family hidden in a car. During the journey, she hid in a footwell of the car, covering herself every time they passed through a Taliban checkpoint.

Finally, she arrived in Germany.

“I was just trying to convince my family to let me be there. I was trying to at least find a way not to leave, you know? But I had to leave,” Ghafari explained.

“And the moment I was boarding the plane, it was harder than the loss of my dad. When I was boarding the plane, I was leaving all my family members, a big family member – my nation of Afghanistan.”

Now, she is trying to put pressure on the international community to do more for the rights of women in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Ghafari was in Brussels to take part in the “State of Europe”, a conference organised by Friends of Europe.

And she is clear in her message to the international community: “Please stop talking to the Taliban government. It gives them recognition and gives them power and it gives them the motivation to do whatever they want to do in Afghanistan.”

Ghafari’s dream is to go back to Afghanistan one day, but till then, she will continue to fight for the rights of women across the world.

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