Life in Kabul, again

Paween Mushtakhel loved acting, and was very successful at it; now she wishes she had never discovered the stage.

In December her husband was murdered by unknown gunmen outside their home after defying months of telephone warnings to stop his wife appearing on television. “I killed my husband with my acting,” [she] says…She has spent the past three months in hiding, fearful for her life and those of her two young children. Her only option, she says, is to flee the country. She is not alone. There is an unease bordering on dread among many working women as the restrictions of the Taleban era begin to encroach again on the relative liberalism of Afghanistan’s cities. “The atmosphere has changed,” she said. “Day by day women can work less and less.”

Well god hates women, after all, so what do you expect.

Mushtakhel reels off a list of high-risk professions for Afghan women: serving in parliament, working for foreign aid agencies, journalism, medicine, teaching, performing as an actress, singer or dancer. The Taleban justifies its attacks on such women by alleging that they are a cover for immoral acts and prostitution. Western employers and managers concur privately that women Afghan employees have begun to resign rather face the risks…The murder of Afghanistan’s most celebrated female police officer, Malalai Kakar, in September was a grim milestone. It was followed by a stream of killings of women journalists, teachers and workers, including four Western female aid workers in the past year.

All in the name of justice, compassion and mercy, no doubt.

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