We are a coalition of NGOs, academics, activists, women’s rights defenders, journalists, artists, filmmakers and peacebuilders. We are working to get our Afghan colleagues and families, who are under direct threat from the Taliban, to safety. They have worked to bring peace to Afghanistan over the last 20 years, have fought for the rights of all Afghans, and especially women, girls and minority groups in direct opposition to the Taliban. They now come to us for help because nobody came for them.
Afghanistan’s country code is +93. My phone lights up—day and night. I cannot bear to answer, knowing I have no answers. I cannot bear to ignore them. “I hope you are not tired,” they say. “Sorry to bother you,” “Thank you for thinking of us,” and “If they find me, they’ll rip me apart, please take my children.” Their graciousness, dignity, apologies for disturbing our lives, to help save theirs, are humbling and haunting.
I run a nonprofit supporting women’s peacebuilding organizations in 40 conflict-affected countries worldwide. We’ve had Afghan partners for years. They dedicate their lives to caring for their communities, running shelters for violence survivors, training women police officers, documenting the failures of the allied efforts for the security sector, advocating for rights and justice and setting up networks of men to prevent violence. Their reach extends nationwide.
A female journalist receives a call warning that they “will come soon.” A woman lawmaker sits and waits for her killers. A little girl wonders how much longer her school gates will remain open.
For Afghanistan’s women and girls, this is the terrifying uncertainty they now find themselves in.
As Taliban leaders tell international media they “don’t want women to be victimized,” a more sinister reality is unfolding on the ground.
Talking to Sheena McKenzie at CNN about what the Taliban takeover could mean for women and girls in Afghanistan, ICAN’s founder and CEO, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, warns: “Once the diplomats leave, the journalists leave, the international NGOs leave, they are going to basically lock the doors… God knows what we’ll see then.”
ICAN Founder and CEO, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, speaks to Danny DeCrescenzo and Annemarie LePard for WRHU-FM Hofstra University Radio on the current crisis situation in Afghanistan.
We called for the international community to listen to Afghan women peacebuilders.
Our partners risked their own lives to speak at the United Nations, the European Union, the International Criminal Court, in the United States, and elsewhere. They warned of the reality in the Afghan forces, informed the world of needs on the ground, and offered recommendations and practical actions. They repeatedly asked for the chance to negotiate their own fate at the peace tables in Doha and elsewhere. They were never granted such an opportunity. Rather, they were willfully ignored and excluded.