AGNC Blog Post

Silenced Voices: Afghanistan’s Ongoing Education Crisis and the Urgent Call for Global Action

Silenced Voices

Afghanistan's Ongoing Education Crisis and the Urgent Call for Global Action

In a disheartening turn of events, Afghanistan remains the only country in the world with severe restrictions on female education, with more than 1 million girls affected by the Taliban’s ban on schooling beyond the sixth grade. This two-year crisis has not only triggered global condemnation but has far-reaching consequences for all Afghans, affecting the nation’s economy, healthcare system, and social fabric.

Understanding the Ban

The Taliban’s decision to halt girls’ education beyond sixth grade stems from their strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Despite widespread criticism, the leadership remains unmoved, excluding women and girls not only from educational institutions but also from higher education, public spaces, and most jobs. This regressive stance, rooted in 19th-century Islamic thought and tribalism, has become a major obstacle to the Taliban gaining international recognition.

Impact on Healthcare and Econom

The ban’s repercussions extend beyond educational boundaries.

The healthcare sector is facing a crisis as female medical students had their studies abruptly halted, jeopardizing the pipeline of qualified healthcare professionals. In a gender-segregated society, the absence of female professionals will compromise basic healthcare services for Afghan women and children. Moreover, tens of thousands of teachers have lost their jobs, and private businesses benefiting from girls’ education are suffering, contributing to the country’s already shattered economy.

Social and Population Consequences

The ban’s effects ripple through various aspects of Afghan society.

With the exclusion of girls from schools, there is an increased risk of child labor and child marriage, adding to the growing hardships faced by families. Higher birth rates among girls without secondary or higher education pose challenges to public health and child protection. The lack of women’s education emerges as a major driver of deprivation, as it impacts basic immunization rates and the age at which daughters are married.

International Response and Future Outlook

While global condemnation and sanctions have made little impact on the Taliban’s stance, the potential for change lies within Afghanistan. Despite immediate concerns such as earning a living and surviving harsh conditions, public opinion within Afghanistan is crucial. The Taliban, now reliant on social media for communication, seeks some level of international acceptance to bolster the economy. Countries with relationships with the Taliban, including Pakistan, Iran, Central Asian nations, and China, must prioritize the issue of girls’ education to exert pressure for change.


As the United Nations General Assembly addresses the rights of Afghan women and children, it is crucial to highlight the worsening crisis of the education ban. This SEO article calls for global support, emphasizing the interconnectedness of Afghanistan’s educational crisis with broader societal and economic issues. By shedding light on the far-reaching consequences of the ban, we hope to inspire concerted international efforts to address this pressing issue and advocate for the restoration of girls’ education in Afghanistan.

© Copyright 2023 Mayo Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

AGNC Blog Post

Unveiling the Silent Screams: Afghan Women’s Hunger Strike Against Taliban’s Gender Apartheid

Unveiling the Silent Screams

Taliban Bans Women from Band-e-Amir National Park in Afghanistan

In the heart of Cologne, Germany, a group of courageous Afghan women’s rights activists has embarked on a poignant journey, marking the second week of their hunger strike against the Taliban’s oppressive policies. The battleground extends beyond borders, transcending international indifference as these women strive to break the chains of gender apartheid gripping Afghanistan. In this SEO blog article, we delve into the unfolding story, shedding light on the stark contrast between the Taliban’s claims and the grim reality faced by Afghan women.

The Cry for Recognition

Frustrated by the lack of international response to the plight of Afghan women and girls, these activists took a bold step, choosing to communicate their desperation through a hunger strike. Their mission? To have the ongoing gender apartheid in Afghanistan formally acknowledged. As the United Nations described the situation for Afghan women as the worst in the world, these brave women seek to expose the Taliban’s systematic assault on the rights of women and girls.

Taliban's Narrative

Contrary to the harrowing tales emerging from Afghanistan, the Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhunzada, paints a rosy picture. He claims to have restored women’s status as “free and dignified human beings,” touting improvements in their lives under the regime. However, the international community remains skeptical, with Human Rights Watch dismissing these claims as “unsupported and absurd.”

The Chilling Reality

Behind the facade of the Taliban’s assurances lies a grim reality. Since the 2021 takeover, the Taliban has implemented oppressive measures, preventing girls and women from attending school, working, or even participating in public life. The ban on women’s beauty salons and the demand for their closure further highlight the stark contrast between the Taliban’s rhetoric and the actual situation on the ground.

The Unseen Suffering

The UN’s declaration of Afghanistan as the most repressive country for women underscores the severity of the situation. Women face beatings, rape, forced marriages, and a culture of impunity for femicide. As journalist Lynne O’Donnell chillingly describes it, Afghanistan has become a place where the screams of isolated, brutalized women go unheard.

Roots of Oppression

The Taliban’s regressive views on women and girls are deeply embedded in their ideology, with male-only religious schools playing a pivotal role in shaping social norms. These madrassas, where young boys are isolated from their families and subjected to indoctrination, serve as breeding grounds for the perpetuation of the Taliban’s oppressive regime.


As the brave Afghan women in Cologne endure their hunger strike, their silent screams echo across the globe, demanding attention and action. This SEO blog article aims to amplify their voices, bringing the harsh reality of gender apartheid in Afghanistan to the forefront. It is a call to arms for the international community to stand in solidarity with these activists, challenging the Taliban’s oppressive regime and advocating for the rights and dignity of Afghan women.

© Copyright 2023 Mayo Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

AGNC Blog Post

Beyond Borders: Mehri Rezaee’s Resilient Flight from Taliban

Beyond Borders

Mehri Rezaee's Resilient Flight from Taliban

In the tumultuous landscape of Afghanistan, where the echoes of conflict and change resonate with its history, Mehri Rezaee’s story stands as a testament to the resilience and the indomitable spirit of survival.
As a legal adviser to the vice president on human rights and women’s issues, Mehri’s life took a dramatic turn when the Taliban seized control of Kabul in 2021. This is a narrative of her harrowing escape, her challenges, and the remarkable journey that led her from the heart of turmoil to the shores of opportunity in the United States.

The Day Kabul Fell

On that fateful morning of August 15, 2021, Mehri Rezaee, a legal adviser at the presidential palace, witnessed the palpable transformation of Kabul as the Taliban approached.
The chaos ensued, and in the midst of colleagues deleting files and shredding documents, Mehri made a swift decision to leave. The narrative vividly paints the scene of a city in panic, with the streets filled with people desperately seeking refuge.

The Perilous Journey to Freedom

Mehri’s escape took her to the chaotic scene at the Hamid Karzai airport, where the struggle for a way out was marked by danger and tragedy. In an article where her story was featured, the tension, fear, and heartbreak as Mehri navigated through Taliban checkpoints and faced the grim reality of a suicide bombing that occurred shortly after her departure was encapsulated.

From Kabul to Germany: A Journey of Desperation and Hope

As Mehri sought refuge, her journey extended to the Iranian border, where ingenious strategies were employed to overcome the Taliban’s restrictions on single women traveling alone.
The emotional farewells to her family and the subsequent challenges in a German refugee camp are detailed, offering a glimpse into the mental and emotional toll of displacement.

A Scholar's Resilience: Building a New Life

Amidst the bleakness of her situation, Mehri’s story takes a turn when an offer of asylum in Germany opens a path to the United States. The narrative then explores her arrival in Oklahoma, where she embarks on a new chapter as a visiting scholar at the University of Oklahoma. The challenges of adapting to a new culture, grappling with loneliness, and the haunting visa uncertainties are laid bare.

Advocacy and Challenges: Mehri's Impact on Afghan Refugees

The article delves into Mehri Rezaee’s current endeavors, including her research and advocacy work. It explores her critical examination of Western governments’ promises versus their actions in the context of the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees. Mehri’s commitment to holding governments accountable for their commitments and the challenges she faces as a temporary resident in the U.S. is discussed.


Mehri Rezaee’s journey is a poignant reminder of the resilience embedded in the human spirit. From the war-torn landscapes of Afghanistan to the halls of academia in Oklahoma, her story echoes the broader challenges faced by Afghan refugees worldwide. As Mehri continues her fight for justice and a stable future, her narrative serves as an inspiration for all those who strive to rebuild their lives against seemingly insurmountable odds.

© Copyright 2023 Mayo Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

AGNC Blog Post

The Longing for Freedom: Afghan Women’s Cry for Basic Rights

The Longing for Freedom

Afghan Women's Cry for Basic Rights

In an article by Zara Joya, published in The Guardian, the stark reality of the plight of Afghan women under Taliban rule is vividly depicted. The story unveils the struggles, emotional distress, and profound challenges faced by women, particularly young girls, following the fall of Kabul. Forced into exile, these women endure the agony of separation, longing for the comfort of their homes and the embrace of their loved ones.

Separation and Longing in Exile

The article illustrates the heart-wrenching experience of separation felt by Afghan women forced into exile. The anguish and loneliness, particularly poignant in the case of a teenage girl, resonate with the broader experience of thousands who have been uprooted from their homeland. The emotional toll of being thousands of miles away from family and the cultural shock of adjusting to a new life is palpable.

The Struggle for Basic Rights

Under Taliban rule, Afghan women face an insurmountable challenge to access basic rights. The closure of schools, denial of education, limited access to healthcare, and the exclusion of women from public life reflect the stark reality of a gender apartheid system. Women, once breadwinners and heads of families are now deprived of the opportunity to work, amplifying the burden of poverty and hunger.

The Role of Rukhshana Media and the Cry for Support

Amid this turmoil, organizations like Rukhshana Media stand as a beacon of hope, shedding light on the atrocities and advocating for women’s rights in Afghanistan. However, the article urges the global community to rally behind Afghan women, emphasizing the urgency for support similar to that extended to other global conflicts. The plea is clear: Afghan women cannot fight this battle alone.

The Urgent Need for International Support

The piece underlines the urgent need for international support. It questions the abandonment of promises made by the international community and highlights the deafening silence of human rights institutions in the face of escalating violence and women’s suffering. Afghan women face increased risks of suicide, femicide, forced marriages, and domestic violence, yet their plight remains largely overlooked.

A Call to Action

In conclusion, the article is a poignant call to action. It urges readers not to turn a blind eye to the suffering of Afghan women. Just as support is offered to other global crises, the piece implores solidarity and aid for the women of Afghanistan. Their fight for basic rights – the right to education, employment, and public life – should not be left unattended.
The story of Afghan women under Taliban rule, as shared by Zara Joya in The Guardian, is a powerful reminder of the urgent need for global intervention. It beckons the world to stand in solidarity with these women in their unequal war, echoing their plea for support and recognition of their basic human rights.

© Copyright 2023 Mayo Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

AGNC Blog Post

Unequal Distribution of Humanitarian Aid: Afghan Women’s Struggle in 2023

Unequal Distribution of Humanitarian Aid

Afghan Women's Struggle in 2023

In a news article published by the Khamaa Press, a pressing issue that has been haunting Afghanistan in 2023 is brought to the forefront. The United Nations Coordination Office (OCHA) has disclosed that more than one million women and 700,000 children in Afghanistan find themselves without crucial humanitarian assistance, primarily due to funding shortages. This article delves into the unequal distribution of aid, its ramifications for Afghan women, and the hardships they encounter amidst these tumultuous times.

The Grim Reality

Qudsia, a resident of Kabul, shared her heart-wrenching experience, stating, “We received help several times almost two years ago, but since then, we have not received any assistance.” Her family’s situation is dire, with five children and an unemployed husband. Two of her children are ill, and she cannot afford their treatment. Qudsia is just one example of the many Afghan women who have been left to fend for their families without the support they desperately need.

The Funding Shortage Dilemma

OCHA’s report, released on September 4th, highlights that this crisis is a result of funding shortages. This devastating shortfall has left a million women and 700,000 children deprived of humanitarian aid, with detrimental consequences. The report underscores the urgent need for increased financial support to alleviate the suffering of these vulnerable populations.

The Impact of the Taliban's Policies

The United Nations investigation reveals that after the Taliban’s ban on women working, 86% of domestic and international NGO activities have been halted or severely reduced. This prohibition has significantly affected women’s rights, as women were often the driving force behind many of these organizations, especially those focused on providing services to women.
Sahar, a mother of five in the Kishima district of Badakhshan province, exemplifies the dire situation many Afghan women face. Her husband’s addiction has made her the sole provider for her family. She used to receive food aid from relief organizations like the World Food Program, but recently, she has not received any assistance. This lack of support threatens her family’s livelihood.
Riza Gul, another Afghan woman in need, relies on humanitarian aid while selling items on the streets of Kabul. She laments, “Sometimes aid comes to our area, but we have no intermediary to help us.” The opaque distribution process adds further complexity to these women’s already challenging circumstances.

The Dependency on Humanitarian Aid

Women’s rights activists argue that the interim administration’s efforts to exclude women from the workforce and intentionally remove them from social spheres have exacerbated their dependency on humanitarian aid. Maryam Sediqi, a journalist and women’s rights activist emphasizes, “Women have been removed from all sectors, and a significant portion of them are the breadwinners of their families. They are not allowed to work, which increases their reliance on humanitarian aid.”
Additionally, the shift towards relief organizations employing predominantly male staff after September 2022 has further hindered the identification and fulfillment of the specific needs of women. The absence of female staff in these organizations has paralyzed the previously available assistance.

Supporting Afghan Women 

In a country grappling with political turmoil and economic instability, Afghan women find themselves at the center of a dire humanitarian crisis. Unequal distribution of aid, coupled with the Taliban’s policies, has left countless women and children in Afghanistan vulnerable and in desperate need of assistance.
It is imperative that the international community recognizes the urgency of the situation and mobilizes support to ensure equitable access to humanitarian aid for all Afghan citizens. The plight of Afghan women cannot be overlooked, and concerted efforts must be made to address their unique challenges and provide the assistance they so desperately need to rebuild their lives and communities.

© Copyright 2023 Mayo Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

AGNC Blog Post

Afghan Women’s Rights: U.N. Condemns Taliban’s Shocking Oppression

Afghan Women’s Rights

U.N. Condemns Taliban's Shocking Oppression

In a news article published in Reuters, the world has been confronted with a deeply troubling and heart-wrenching reality in Afghanistan. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk has decried the “shocking level of oppression” inflicted upon Afghan women and girls by the Taliban, highlighting the country’s dire state of human rights. This alarming revelation demands our attention and underscores the urgent need for international intervention and awareness.

The Taliban's Resurgence and Ongoing Oppression

The resurgence of the Islamist Taliban in August 2021, following a two-decade insurgency against the Western-backed government, has led to a profound regression in women’s rights in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s policies have resulted in severe restrictions on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls, including bans on education and work.

Turk's Address to the Human Rights Council

In a powerful address to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Volker Turk emphasized that “human rights in Afghanistan are in a state of collapse,” affecting millions of women, men, girls, and boys. He described the oppression suffered by Afghan women and girls as “immeasurably cruel.” This declaration highlights the urgent need for international intervention to protect the rights and dignity of Afghan women.

Taliban's Claims and the Reality

Despite claims by the Taliban that they respect women’s rights in accordance with their interpretation of Islamic law and local customs, the evidence on the ground paints a starkly different picture. The systematic oppression and violence against Afghan women are a grave violation of basic human rights and must be addressed urgently.

The U.N. Report and Ongoing Abuses

Turk’s address coincided with the release of a U.N. report covering the period from March 2022 to August 2023. The report documents a “systematic repression of the rule of law and human rights in Afghanistan,” particularly concerning the rights of women and girls. Shockingly, it details 324 violence cases against women and girls, including murders labeled as “honor killings,” beatings, and child marriages. These grim statistics underscore the extent of the crisis.

Challenges Faced by Afghan Women

The report also sheds light on the daily challenges faced by Afghan women, including harassment and physical abuse by Taliban authorities at checkpoints for perceived violations, such as wearing the hijab incorrectly or lacking a male “mahram” (guardian) when in public spaces. These incidents further demonstrate the urgency of addressing the human rights crisis in Afghanistan.

International Response

In 2021, the 47-member Human Rights Council appointed a U.N. independent expert to investigate rights violations in Afghanistan. The European Union now seeks to renew this mandate during the ongoing session in Geneva, extending until October 13, 2023. This collective international effort is crucial in holding accountable those responsible for these human rights abuses.

Afghan Women's Rights

The shocking oppression of Afghan women and girls under the Taliban’s rule demands the world’s attention and action. It is essential that we stand in solidarity with the Afghan people and advocate for the protection of their fundamental human rights. The international community must continue to shed light on this grave crisis and work tirelessly to ensure a brighter and more equitable future for all Afghan citizens, especially the women and girls who have been silenced for far too long.

© Copyright 2023 Mayo Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

AGNC Blog Post

Escaping Kabul’s Shadow: A 12-Year-Old’s Daring Journey to Freedom

Escaping Kabul’s Shadow

A 12-Year-Old's Daring Journey to Freedom

In a recent article by Rick Jervis, the harrowing tale of Mohammad Halim Shams, a young Afghan boy who fled the Taliban’s rule, sheds light on the rarely discussed consequences of the American exit from Afghanistan. Mohammad’s story reveals the challenges faced by unaccompanied Afghan minors who arrived in the United States seeking safety and the difficulties in reuniting them with their families living under Taliban rule.

The Escape From Kabul

At the tender age of 12, Mohammad embarked on a perilous journey to save his family from the Taliban’s oppressive regime. With the Taliban taking control of Kabul and threatening to deny girls access to education, Mohammad knew he had to act. Leaving his family behind, he went to the Hamid Karzai International Airport, carrying only a Samsung cellphone, his Afghan identity card, and a meager sum of 400 Afghanis (less than $5).
Inside the airport’s chaos and violence, Mohammad took a flight in August 2021, eventually reaching the United States. However, his journey to safety had just begun.

The Plight of Unaccompanied Afghan Minors

Mohammad’s arrival in the U.S. as an unaccompanied minor highlights the vulnerability of these young evacuees. By late March, 184 children remained separated from their families in long-term foster care, and 55 remain in federal shelters, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Unlike unaccompanied youth from Central and Latin America who often have family connections in the U.S., these children arrived without such support. Reuniting them with their families in Afghanistan or other countries became a complex immigration challenge.

Life Inside the Shelter

Mohammad’s initial days in the U.S. were marked by isolation and language barriers. He worried about the welfare of his family and feared Taliban retaliation if they discovered he had fled. Over time, he learned English and Spanish, made friends, and adapted to life in a New York immigrant children’s shelter.
However, his desperate plea remained the same – reuniting with his family.

The Struggle for Reunification

The U.S. government expressed support for reuniting Afghan families but faced challenges due to the lack of viable passports and the slow issuance of new ones by the Taliban government. The State Department created an online portal for Afghan families attempting to reunite, but details were not widely publicized.
Legal hurdles, tenuous U.S.-Taliban relations, and the children’s ongoing trauma complicated reunification. While some children were eventually reunited with their families, the ordeal was far from over.

A Family Left Behind

Mohammad’s family, left behind in Afghanistan, faced uncertainty and danger. As rumors of public executions and girls being barred from school spread, Mohammad, from Qatar and later the U.S., worked tirelessly to bring his family to safety.
After months of waiting and bureaucratic hurdles, his family received a lifeline when a U.S. official informed them of their departure. They spent months in military facilities in Qatar and Kosovo, finally reuniting with Mohammad in Buffalo, New York.

Life After the Shelter

Today, Mohammad and his family reside in Buffalo, awaiting work authorization and living on humanitarian parole, providing temporary residence in the U.S. They face an uncertain future, as their permanent status is unclear.
While a bipartisan bill, the Afghan Adjustment Act, could offer a solution, it remains stalled in Congress. Like Mohammad’s, Afghan families live in limbo, uncertain of their fate.

A Message of Hope

Despite the challenges, Mohammad remains optimistic. He plans to join the U.S. military as soon as he’s eligible, determined to give back to the country that provided refuge to him and his family.
In conclusion, Mohammad’s journey to safety in the United States underscores the complexities and hardships faced by unaccompanied Afghan minors fleeing the Taliban regime. It serves as a reminder of the challenges in reuniting them with their families and highlights the need for comprehensive solutions to address their plight.

© Copyright 2023 Mayo Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

AGNC Blog Post

Resilience in Exile: Fight, stand, and move together. Afghan Women can.

Resilience in Exile

Fight, stand, and move together. Afghan Women can.

In a recent article by Gaisu Yari, the project director of Afghan Voices of Hope, we are offered a glimpse into the harrowing experiences of Afghan women living in exile. These stories shed light on the resilience and strength of individuals forced to leave their homeland in the face of adversity. In this blog, we’ll explore the powerful narratives shared by Afghan women who have found hope and courage despite their challenges.

A Glimpse into Afghanistan's Recent History

August 15, 2023, marks a day that few in Afghanistan expect to see again in 2021. Two years after the Taliban took control of Kabul, Afghanistan remains scarred by the loss of democracy and women’s rights. The once-vibrant public life has faded into obscurity, particularly for women who have been stripped of their freedoms – banned from education, work, travel, sports, and even freedom of speech.

Seeking Meaning in Exile

In the aftermath of Afghanistan’s collapse, Gaisu Yari went on a mission to connect with fellow Afghans living in exile while grappling with their trauma, guilt, and hopelessness about the future. This quest led to the creation of the Afghan Voices of Hope project. Over two years, more than 200 stories have been collected, revealing a shared experience of loss, guilt, and resilience.

The Emotional Toll of Displacement

These stories highlight the emotional toll of displacement as refugees are uprooted from their homes, relationships, and careers. When asked about the moment they decided to leave, many expressed profound guilt over leaving loved ones behind. They yearned for their physical belongings, cultural heritage, and personal dreams. These women’s stories challenge us to consider the devastating impact of leaving behind a sense of belonging.

Finding Hope in the Darkness

Despite the overwhelming challenges, these narratives are stories of hope, strength, and determination. Fatima, a talented theater performer now living in France, refuses to succumb to despair. She reminds us to “always have hope” and to face difficulties with faith and determination.
Tahera, a women’s rights activist now residing in the US, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing that “hope is everything.” These stories demonstrate how hope can become a seed of resistance, movement, and change.
These testimonies are not just stories; they represent the countless women worldwide fighting for women’s rights in Afghanistan and striving for a brighter future for the next generation. Seena, a doctor in Poland, encourages the younger generation living and studying abroad to get an education, make themselves strong, and serve their country.

Inspiring a Peaceful and Democratic Afghanistan

In conclusion, the article by Gaisu Yari showcases the resilience and courage of Afghans living in exile. These stories serve as a reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the power of hope. They inspire not only those in exile but also the global community to support the cause of a more peaceful and democratic Afghanistan.

A Call to Action

Movements made to support these women should be patronized.
Afghan Voices of Hope, supported by the Open Society Foundations, continues to share these inspiring narratives with the world through their traveling exhibition. This exhibition, launching at the Global Friends of Afghanistan’s conference in October 2023, invites us all to bear witness to these stories of strength and hope as we collectively strive for a better future.
Additionally, the Afghan Girls Next Chapter (AGNC) stands as a powerful advocate for these voices. Simply following AGNC on social media is already part of raising awareness and supporting Afghan women.
Supporting movements like these holds profound significance, perhaps more than one might initially realize. They extend an open invitation for all of us to help Afghan women amplify these tales of resilience and optimism as we join together in our shared pursuit of a brighter future.

© Copyright 2023 Mayo Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

AGNC Blog Post

Survivor’s Tale: A Glimpse into Zahra Mosavi’s Resilient Spirit

A Glimpse into Zahra Mosavi's Resilient Spirit

Afghan Women | 6 min read
In the midst of adversity, some stories shine as beacons of inspiration, reminding us of the incredible strength of the human spirit. Zahra Mosavi’s extraordinary journey from her hometown in Kabul, Afghanistan, to a promising future in the United States is one such story. Despite facing immense challenges, Zahra has not only survived but thrived, transforming obstacles into stepping stones on her path to success. In this blog post, we share the remarkable journey of Zahra Mosavi, an embodiment of resilience, and call upon our readers to stand with Afghan women, amplify their voices, and support their quest for basic human rights.

Early Life and Education

Zahra was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, leading a normal life with her loving family. She graduated from high school and secured a scholarship to study in Bangladesh. Life seemed to be on a positive trajectory until the global spread of COVID-19 forced her university to close its doors in 2020. Determined to pursue her dreams, Zahra returned to Afghanistan and continued her studies online despite the numerous challenges posed by limited access to the internet and electricity.

The Dark Days of Taliban Rule

However, Zahra’s life took a dramatic turn on August 15, 2021, when the Taliban seized control and power in Afghanistan. The government collapsed, and women were banned from working and studying, leaving them without basic human rights. For a while, hope seemed lost, and the future appeared bleak for Afghan women, including Zahra.

A Glimmer of Hope

In the face of despair, Zahra heard about initiatives aimed at helping Afghan women escape to the United States. On August 28, 2021, Zahra, along with 147 women, made the difficult decision to leave their homeland with the invaluable assistance of the Mayo Family Foundation. They embarked on a journey fraught with challenges, living in a military camp in the U.S. for two months.

Strength in Adversity

Trials and tribulations have marked Zahra’s journey, but she has emerged from them even stronger, more resilient, and determined to achieve her dreams. Her experiences have become the foundation upon which she builds her future.

A Promising Future

Today, Zahra is a Arizona State University (ASU) scholar, pursuing her dreams of education and personal growth. ASU has become her second home, allowing her to enroll in the Global Launch program that offers English proficiency classes and choose a major, contemplating either law or computer science.

A Call to Action

Zahra’s journey is a testament to human resilience and the power of hope. Her story inspires us to stand with Afghan women, amplify their voices, and advocate for their basic human rights. We can make a meaningful difference by supporting organizations dedicated to aiding Afghan women and championing their cause on a global scale.
Zahra Mosavi’s remarkable journey is a source of inspiration and a call to action. Her resilience and determination reflect the strength of Afghan women, and her story reminds us of the urgency of supporting their quest for basic human rights. Let us stand together with Afghan women, amplify their voices, and work tirelessly to create a brighter and more equitable future for women everywhere.

© Copyright 2023 Mayo Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

AGNC Blog Post

The Silent Warriors: Afghan Women’s Unequal War and Our Role

A Disturbing Trend:

Afghan Women's Unequal War and Our Role

Afghan women are fighting an unequal war; they need our support.

In a recent news article published in the Guardian by Zahra Joya, an Afghan journalist, the spotlight is on the heart-wrenching challenges faced by Afghan women since the return of the Taliban. Published in The Guardian, Joya’s powerful narrative paints a vivid picture of the struggles endured by Afghan women and girls as they fight against an unjust system. In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into this story and explore the urgent need of Afghan women for international support.

The Painful Separation

Joya’s story begins with a piercing cry in the middle of the night in a small London room. It’s her teenage sister, sobbing, unable to sleep alone since the fall of Kabul. The pain of separation from their mother is palpable, and it’s a pain shared by thousands of Afghan families. Afghanistan’s fall was not just the fall of a nation but the separation of its people, a tragedy that continues to unfold.

The Harsh Realities of Exile

The return of the Taliban to Afghanistan has brought about distressing changes in the lives of countless Afghan women. Forced into exile, many now find themselves in foreign lands, grappling with cultures and languages vastly different from their own. While being away from their parents is challenging, some, like Joya and her sister, consider themselves fortunate to live in a safe and free country. However, millions of girls and women inside Afghanistan have been deprived of fundamental rights, with young girls forced into marriages and women excluded from public life.

The Toll of Migration

Migration comes at a cost, even though it offers new opportunities. The feeling of loneliness and the distance from family and friends are constant companions. As Joya reflects on her journey, she underscores the difficulties of living away from home and family, a reality many Afghan women face now.

The Shocking Gender Apartheid

The heart of the matter lies in how the Taliban established a gender apartheid system in plain view of the world. Millions of school-age girls are now deprived of education, universities are closed to women, and the opportunity to work has been stripped away from tens of thousands of women who were once breadwinners. Women’s access to healthcare is limited, and the burden of poverty and hunger is crushing.
Afghanistan’s women now struggle for basic rights, such as the freedom to leave their homes, attend schools, visit parks, and seek employment. Joya’s frustration is evident as she contemplates the insurmountable challenges facing her country’s women.

International Promises Broken

The international community had made promises, but these seem to have been forgotten. The peace deal between the US and the Taliban in Qatar has enabled the Taliban to implement their oppressive policies with impunity. Women have been left alone in their fight against the Taliban, with the vast majority of Afghan men silently supporting women’s education but not mobilizing against the Taliban’s oppressive rule.

The Forgotten Crisis

The situation has reached a point where the suffering of Afghan women goes largely unnoticed. The Taliban regime doesn’t see women’s issues as a national concern, and international human rights organizations issue statements and reports but don’t take meaningful action.
Joya and her team at Rukhshana Media have documented the pain of protesting women flogged by Taliban fighters and the tragic stories of policewomen who fought for gender equality but have now disappeared or been murdered.

A Plea for Support

Afghan women continue to resist and fight for their rights despite the ongoing challenges and dangers. They need the world’s support, just as the people of Ukraine need help in their battle against the Russian invasion.
As we witness crises and conflicts worldwide, we must not forget the plight of Afghan women. They are fighting an unequal war, and their voices must be heard. We must stand with them in their struggle for freedom and human rights.


Zahra Joya’s profoundly moving account sheds light on the heartbreaking challenges Afghan women and girls face in the wake of the Taliban’s return to power. Their fight for equality is a fight for basic human rights, and it’s a fight that requires international support and attention. Let us not turn a blind eye to their struggle and stand with them in their pursuit of a brighter future instead.

© Copyright 2023 Mayo Family Foundation. All rights reserved.