Two years since the Taliban took over

On the second anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Australian-Hazara woman Sitarah Mohammadi writes about the last two years, and what the Australian government can do to help people in Afghanistan facing a decimation of their human rights.

Sitarah Mohammadi‘s statement

I am writing to you today to tell you about what has happened to my country and it’s people since the Taliban took over two years ago.

I’m an Australian-Hazara woman, a World Hazara Council spokesperson, and graduate lawyer. Last week, I travelled to Parliament as part of a delegation of Australian-Afghan women to speak to politicians and represent the plight of my community, the Hazara’s in Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban’s forceful return to power in 2021, they have launched a systematic campaign against human rights in Afghanistan that affects all groups, but especially women, Hazaras, and religious and ethnic minorities.

Women in Afghanistan, who once held hope for a brighter future, are now shackled by the Taliban in a tyranny that denies them fundamental freedoms, education, and participation in public life.

They are not permitted to get any education above primary school. They cannot hold jobs except in healthcare for women, such as nursing or midwifery.

Amid this human rights crisis, Hazara women bear the brunt of the Taliban’s repressive rule due to the intersection of gender, religion, and ethnicity, rendering them even more vulnerable.

My community, The Hazaras, a Shi’a religious minority in Afghanistan, have faced relentless persecution with, the bombing of their mosques and schools, and deadly attacks on their maternity clinics.

The humanitarian crises that has unfolded during this period has had devastating consequences for millions of people in Afghanistan, particularly highly marginalised groups, such as the Hazaras, leaving them vulnerable to poverty, displacement, and insecurity. Innocent civilians, including children, continue to suffer unimaginable hardships, with access to basic necessities such as food, water, and healthcare becoming increasingly scarce.

In the face of these horrors, brave people in Afghanistan have continued to fight for their human rights. Around the world 198,612 Amnesty supporters like you have called on the Taliban to stop violating human rights. Here, in Australia 39,364 people called on the Australian government to increase the humanitarian intake in 2022. Due to your direct efforts, the government listened and added an additional 16,500 places for people from Afghanistan to be resettled.

But, while they have promised these places, they still need to process visas so that Afghan nationals can actually settle here.

We must keep the pressure up and continue to call on the government to stand in support of people in Afghanistan and fight for the rights of its people, especially women and the Hazara. Australia must continue giving protection to refugees who are fleeing from Taliban tyranny.

I hope you will continue to stand with us until human rights are restored for the people of Afghanistan.

Sitarah Mohammadi

Stay up to date on what’s happening in Afghanistan

Follow Sitarah Mohammadi’s work with the Hazara Community here.

You can also follow the World Hazara Council a non-partisan, non-political organisation aimed at promoting the culture, social and civil rights of the Hazara people.

What Amnesty is calling for

In that two years since the Taliban’s takeover, Amnesty International has documented the decimation of human rights in Afghanistan by the Taliban.

The Taliban has implemented over 20 decrees restricting the rights of women and girls. Amnesty has concluded that the persecution of women and girls by the Taliban is a crime against humanity.

The Taliban have resumed public executions and floggings. Protesters face arrest, detention, and torture. Media outlets have closed en masse.

Religious and educational centres of ethnic minorities including Hazara people have been attacked. The bombing of an education centre in a primarily Hazara neighbourhood on 30 September killed 52 teenagers, mostly girls.

The Taliban takeover has plunged Afghanistan deeper into poverty.

We’re calling for Australia and the international community to impose serious consequences on the Taliban for their conduct.

People power works – how you can help

Together, we need your help to call on Australia to support Afghanistan’s women and the Hazara community. Australia should ensure people fleeing Taliban tyranny can resettle in safety in Australia.

Together we can, have, and will continue to drive important change that saves lives.

  • Learn more about Amnesty’s report on the Taliban’s war on women
  • Sign the petition and call one the Albanese government to raise Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian intake so more people seeking safety can resettle in Australia

It is important that the international community, including Australia, takes concrete action now.

Amnesty Australia has been advocating for a road to refuge for decades. Learn more about our refugee rights campaign here. All around the world, including in Australia, women are denied their human rights on the basis of their sex and gender. Learn more about our women’s rights campaign here.