Taliban are searching peoples houses, female MP says in Kabul

An Afghan MP who has stayed in Kabul despite being a likely target has told Sky News that Taliban fighters are searching people’s houses.

Farzana Kochai said: “The Taliban announced to the fighters that they have no right to go to anyone’s house and search for anything.

“But the fighters are searching the houses. They are coming and going to everyone’s house and seeing where there is a car or not.”

Ms Kochai decided not to flee the troubled country and instead risk her life for her family, friends and the women of Afghanistan.

And she said the Taliban did appear to have changed – and she has left her house twice in recent days with no issues.
“They are calm and okay with women right now… but what will happen next?”

She suggested the insurgents are beginning to go back on their word already – as one of her female friends who works in national TV has not been allowed to return to work alongside her male colleagues.

She said the situation in Kabul, is “not normal” and people are still living with “fear and concern” – but she had been determined to stay, even though President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday as the Taliban swept into power.

“When our president just left the country, it broke our hearts just as much as the Taliban insurgents did,” she told Sky News.

Ms Kochai, who is also a women’s rights activist, said she doesn’t call anyone a leader in her country yet, and that many people “just left” the nation because “they didn’t care”.

She believes she will be a target if the Taliban does not keep its promises to uphold the rights of women and girls.

She expressed scepticism about the Taliban’s change in tune and if it would stay true to its word on women and girls being allowed to continue education and work.

“It will be challenging for the Taliban to implement those things,” she said.

“So many of those people with closed minds were fighting for the purpose to prevent women from their participation in these things and go against the democratic system.”

Ms Kochai said the Taliban did appear to have changed – and she has left her house twice in recent days with no issues.

“They are calm and okay with women right now… but what will happen next?”

She suggested the insurgents are beginning going back on their word already – as one of her female friends who works in national TV has not been allowed to return to work alongside her male colleagues.

She added that the militant group was also searching people’s houses despite claiming it had ordered fighters not to do so.

“The Taliban announced to the fighters that they have no right to go to anyone’s house and search for anything.

“But the fighters are searching the houses. They are coming and going to everyone’s house and seeing where there is a car or not.”

Although she is a likely target for the Taliban, Ms Kochai decided against fleeing the troubled country and to risk her life for her family, friends and the women of Afghanistan.

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Asked why she didn’t leave, she said: “You know, it’s a question that always just makes me emotional. It’s not so easy to answer.

“As a women’s leader, as a young generation leader… a person who people trusted, we have some obligations or some responsibility toward our people, especially the women, the young women, who believed and trusted us.”

She said she needed to stay to support “the 15 to 16 million women and girls” who deserve a future in society, as well as her relatives who are not in a good position.

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