Credit Linda Norgrove Foundation

The female Afghan medical students hoping to study in Scotland

By Linda Norgrove Foundation Students

Following our story on the University of Glasgow agreeing to offer places to female Afghan students in its medical school, should the UK Home Office bring them to the country, The Glasgow Guardian hears the unedited accounts of life under the Taliban from the students.

I was in the sixth (final) year of medical science when I was suspended by Taliban government for attending university. We paid our fees and we were so nervous to take preparation for our final exams. We were about to take our final exams that we informed through media and news that Taliban government banned women from their higher education. We could not believe our eyes. Then, we contacted our faculty director; he suggested that we should take preparation for exams and take three exams in one day. We planned to go to university and take the exams. I do not know how Taliban got knew that women are going to university and taking exams. Before, we reached to university, our university inside, and outside surrounded by Taliban with their guns. They were not letting female students inside the university to take exams. Then, we female and male students did protest in front of the university for our rights. Unfortunately, we lost for our rights and could not able to win. Indeed, we hated by Taliban and injured very badly. They started gunfire’s on students and wanted to shoot students not stand for their rights. I still remember their long black hair and scary red eyes while they put gun on my head and told me shall I shoot you now. Why you came out to raise your voice for education? Don’t you scare from us? Who the hell are you and what you called to yourself for being so brave? I was just crying loudly with disappoint tears and breathe! Then, he just hated me very badly by his gun on my shoulders and on my feet! I still feel pain on my body. It has been months, we are far away from our education and our dreams.

I as an Afghan girl face both the collapse of my rights, dreams, and risks to my basic survival. Taliban banned women including those who had worked in education, health care, social services, and business, and former students from human rights. The Taliban have banned women and girls from secondary and higher education, and reformed courses to focus more on religious studies. They dictate what women must wear, how they should travel, workplace segregation by sex, and even what kind of cell phones women should have. They enforce these rules through intimidation and inspections. The past several months have been painful and disappointing ones. While all around the world, Women’s Day is celebrated, we in Afghanistan especially the girls in Kandahar are confined to the walls of our houses. I am angry and deeply disappointed that no one is supporting us, reaching out to us and hearing us.

My life in Kandahar/Afghanistan is so horrible. Each day and night, I feel so scare that Taliban don’t come to our home and investigate us. There is no security. In the day, they occupy the duty of Taliban or as a solider but at night they attend their job as thieve. They are not trustable and they are not kind in any case. We have never had dinner in peace without worry and tension. The thing that pained me the most recently is that I started university before my brothers, but when the Taliban stopped women from schools, I stayed behind and my brother graduated. I watched his degree with disappointment and tears in my eyes. I thought to myself that this could be me. This could be me with a degree, with a big smile, with my family cheering for me. However, I felt incapable, I slapped myself and I questioned my existence as a woman. I wished I was born as a boy. 

Taliban’s cruelty and bans on women has made my present and future look dark. I had many dreams, and wanted to continue studying and working. I was thinking of doing my bachelor as MD to become a professional doctor and to serve my beloved country. Now, the Taliban do not even allow girls to finish high school so completing my bachelor is IMPOSSIBLE in Kandahar. I feel extremely unsafe now because there is a new type of threat against women. Kidnapping of women has increased a lot in Kandahar province. Each day, unknown people kidnap girls and women even in front of their homes who are later found dumped and raped. It is so devastating and terrifying to witness all this, to meet the victims and to not be able to get sleep thinking I will be next by just stepping out my door.  Families are not equipped to take their women outside or let them for a basic education to learn in their relatives and friends’ home. Horror is spread in our and in our families’ hearts. I am tired of being at home. I am depressed and suicidal. If I am not studying, my family will decide to get married.  If I get married, all ambitions will go to waste. I cannot tolerate all these. It is better to die than live such a life.  Such a decision made by Taliban has devastated my dreams and future. The whole thing is over for me. The only thing, I wanted to be educated, to be well-known person in my community, to be a doctor, and to serve people. Nevertheless, I cannot do that anymore. Life means nothing for me.I am hopeful that this woman’s day (March) will bring something promising and positive into our lives. I am really praying that someone will hear my voice and the voices of so many girls in my community.

Actually, having the opportunity to train to be a doctor on Glasgow would drastically change my life and future for better. I am in prison that I banned from getting an education and to achieve my goals. I fell so stranger in my own homeland. Now body would complain about his/her country how they live and how they feel. If they even live in poverty and in low economic, they would never complain. At least, they will work and prepare something for his/her family. However, in my homeland, women don’t treat as human-being. How should I and other Afghan educated women should live here in such country and in such situation where I don’t treat as human-being. How I can achieve my goals here in Afghanistan when Taliban don’t treat me as a great citizen of Afghanistan and human-being. Here, in Afghanistan my life and future is so dark and achieving my goals are IMPOSSIBLE!

There is no opportunity for me to go to university and become a professional doctor anymore especially in Kandahar province. I am actually scared for my future and I am scared that not much attention might be paid to Kandahari women because of the nature of the province’s extreme cultural barriers against women compared to provinces like Kabul. I stress a lot because I do not want to be left behind. I want to start my new life from prison and live in peace to go abroad and study hard to become a professional doctor to help people in the future. If my own country does not accept me as a woman to achieve my goals and to treat me as human-being but at least international community/organisations should hear my voice and help me in this hard time to leave Afghanistan and achieve my dreams abroad.

There are too many other girls include me who are so disappointed and worry about their future and being in four walls for months and years. I will never give up for my rights and education. I will always fight for my education to achieve it. I as an Afghan brave girl will try my best to achieve UK scholarship so that I could able to represent Kandahar brave girls that they are so strong and can never give up for their rights and sit quietly. I being come to Scotland and train to be a doctor will make my whole life and it will give me the authority and strength to help and serve sick people. I will support my people in case if I could be capable to help them.


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