‘My nightmares came true’: ex-prosecutor of Afghan women’s abusers

The Taliban blighted *Negin’s childhood with their ban on girls’ education, but she overcame the late start to her schooling to become a senior prosecutor. Afghanistan’s legal system was slow and often corrupt, but it offered women some hope of escaping abusers and seeing their tormentors jailed. Now she fears that some of those men, freed in a Taliban-orchestrated mass jailbreak last summer, want revenge.

My life was already affected by the Taliban long before they took over Afghanistan this summer. I only started school at 14, because they were in power in the 90s and did not allow girls to study. Once I could go to school, I graduated and went to university.

I was appointed as a prosecutor to work on cases of domestic violence and abuse more than four years ago. I was promoted this summer to be chief prosecutor in this area, but my new position only lasted seven days. Friends were in my office to congratulate me on the new job when the Taliban entered Kabul.

I’ve always been under threat because my job was to investigate men who were abusing women. Those who were convicted blame me for putting them in jail, and because the Taliban released all prisoners across Afghanistan, they are now free and hunting for me to take revenge.

I left my home and I’m currently in hiding, although I’m five months behind on rent for this house. Life is getting harder and harder. I live here with two of my brothers, two of my sisters and my parents – it’s only one room here with no kitchen. My sister cooks in one corner.

I have no idea what to do now, I can’t plan for the future. I had considered finding a taxi and working as a driver but the Taliban will not allow me to do it. I’m living in a nightmare.

Threat calls started on the very first night after the fall of Kabul. Criminals started calling me, saying: “Where will you go now? Your system has collapsed. We’ll find you. We’ll behead you.” And other very frightening threats. I don’t go out. I’m so depressed these days that I wish for death.

I sent requests to several countries. I got no reply from the UK and I have so far received only a registration code from Germany, which I’m not hopeful about.

I thought we had international support and the foreign governments would not abandon us, but my nightmares came true.

*The name has been changed for this article.

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