Conflicts & War

‘They sold my country to its enemies,’ laments ex-Afghan mayor

By Laura Zornoza

Brussels, Oct 15 (EFE).- When Zarifa Ghafari took office at the age of 26 as mayor of the city of Maidan Sahar, on the outskirts of Kabul, she was willing to face any challenge in one of the most dangerous territories on the planet.

However, when the Taliban seized power in Kabul on Aug.15, she was forced to escape to Europe, lamenting that her country was “abandoned” and “sold to enemies.”

In an interview with Efe, Ghafari, 29, said fleeing her country two months ago was never her first option.

She said she tried to convince her family to stay back in Afghanistan.

“Their pressure and the realization that I could not have a voice like I had before (the Taliban returned) made me leave, for at least a while.”

The young politician and activist, now a refugee in Germany, was in Brussels to speak at the “State of Europe” conference, organized by the Friends of Europe study center.

The conference brought together more than 250 delegates to discuss climate challenges the post-pandemic recovery of the old continent.

Ghafari said she hid in a car to reach the Kabul airport to escape being caught by the Taliban, who would not have allowed her to leave.

Disappointed by the attitude of the West towards Afghanistan, Ghafari said they were “too busy in statements and words.”

“They have abandoned us. It is not the end of the war. It is an attempt to destroy a generation, a nation sold to its enemies. The murderers of my father are there and I cannot do anything,” the woman lamented.

Her father, an Afghan army officer, was killed by the Taliban last year.

She said the loss of her father gave her a renewed impetus to continue her work.

She was back in her office just three days after his death. She started collaborating with the then-defense ministry, where friends and colleagues of her father worked.

“I know they killed my father to stop me, silence me, and threaten me. But I returned even stronger than before.”

She said the only way to stop her from doing what she was doing “is to kill me.”

Ghafari admitted that the pain of leaving her home was much worse.

She recalled how the Taliban attacked civilians, how the Afghan flag disappeared, how desperate Afghans tried to enter the Kabul airport, and how the West evacuated its nationals and those who had collaborated with them.

Ghafari now lives in Düsseldorf with her husband, mother, and siblings.

She said she would continue striving for the rights of her people.

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