Saturday 23rd of October 2021




















Investigative journalist Azmat Khan, who has reported extensively in Afghanistan, says President Joe Biden has not yet addressed the chaos unleashed by the collapse of the Afghan government. In remarks on Monday, Biden “really focused on the decision to end the war” and ignored criticism about chaos at the Kabul airport and the abandonment of thousands of Afghans who helped the U.S. over the last 20 years.


“None of that was really discussed in any detail,” Khan says. She also discusses why the Afghan military fell so quickly to the Taliban, its overreliance on U.S. air power, how civilian casualties weakened support for the U.S.-backed government, and the massive profits the two-decade-long war generated for U.S. defense contractors.



This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.   

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s bring in Azmat Khan, the investigative reporter, who’s covered Afghanistan for years. Your response to President Biden, to the complete chaos at the airport, the thousands of Afghans who are trying to leave, and the Taliban victory in Afghanistan, overall?

AZMAT KHAN: So, President Biden really focused on the decision to end the war, and not on that searing criticism of this withdrawal, the chaos we’re seeing at the airport, the leaving behind of many people to whom the United States had made promises, people like translators, people like local journalists who were working with American journalists, as well as activists, who now face not just great uncertainty, like was earlier being talked about, but significant threats to their lives and safety. So, none of that was really discussed in any detail.

But I think another omission that really needs to be highlighted is the fact that President Biden took this negative view of Afghan security forces for, quote, “not fighting,” and that’s not accurate. You know, as the earlier speaker was describing, many Afghan soldiers have died fighting the Taliban over the last 20 years, countless, whereas American soldiers, since Operation Freedom’s Sentinel began in 2015, you know, we’ve lost 64 American soldiers in hostile deaths in Afghanistan. So there is a real disparity about who was paying that human costs of that fight, at least from the side that’s fighting the Taliban.

But at the same time, what he didn’t acknowledge was the fact that the entire way that those soldiers were doing that fight was with the support of U.S. air power. So, the United States was bombing heavily parts of that country where there were fights against the Taliban raging. So, just to give some context, in 2019, the United States dropped more bombs in Afghanistan than in any previous year of the war. So, I think it was something close to — more than 6,200 bombs that year, as they were trying to negotiate. So, even with incredible bombs dropping, you know, this was the deal they were able to get. And even then, look at how many Afghan soldiers were dying. Now, once you take that level of air power out of the mix, who would expect any Afghan soldiers to continue to fight? If that many Afghan soldiers died with the support of air power, what happens when you take that out of the mix?

Now, on top of that, I just need to say that that air power may have helped keep this tenuous hold that the Afghan government had on the country, but it also killed scores of civilians in rural areas, areas that don’t often get talked about. Nearly three-quarters of Afghanistan is rural countryside. The majority of the population comes from these kinds of areas, populations that have seen the brunt of the war and we rarely hear about. And they’ve suffered not just bombings, airstrikes and night raids, but also Taliban attacks. And many of them wanted this war to end. And you can’t really talk about that air power and the tenuous grip that the government had without also acknowledging the ways in which that has created space for the Taliban, where even civilians who didn’t like the Taliban just wanted the war to end.

So it kind of makes sense, once you take air power out of the mix, that sort of tenuous hold falls, but at the same time, at this point, the Taliban has resuscitated itself and grown. You know, many of its more recent recruits were people who did lose loved ones and really wanted revenge for those casualties. So, in many ways, as surprising the swiftness of it was, it also makes sense, what we see happening right now.

AMY GOODMAN: The Intercept reports that military stocks outperformed the stock market overall by 58% during the Afghanistan War, including Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. Quote, “[F]rom the perspective of some of the most powerful people in the U.S., [the Afghanistan War] may have been an extraordinary success. Notably, the boards of directors of all five [military] contractors include retired top-level military officers.” You have written extensively, Azmat, about these contracts and who financially profited from this war.

AZMAT KHAN: It’s really stunning. It’s incredibly stunning, because people don’t often talk about the massive wealth, the people who maybe went to Afghanistan temporarily, got hazard pay and built themselves homes, wealthy businessmen, military — former military officials — who now, by the way, come on television talk shows to give their views, without concealing necessarily their own — the fact that they’re on boards of many of these defense contractors. So, there has been incredible corruption on the part of many Americans, on the part of many contractors, as well as just on the ground, that has really helped to isolate local people from the Afghan government.

And so, just to give you some examples, you know, I spent a lot of time investigating U.S.-funded schools in Afghanistan, something that we might consider the kind of untouchable success of the war — right? — that in these 20 years, the United States has radically transformed education for Afghan children, and, in particular, girls. And I really dug into the schools the United States had funded, and picked 50 of them in seven battlefield provinces and went to go see, well, you know, what’s happening at these schools now. And when I would dig into it, I think 10% of the schools either were never built or no longer exist. A vast majority of them were falling apart.

And then, when I would try to understand what happened — you know, for example, in one case, there was a school that was missing. Turns out it was built in the village of a notorious Afghan police chief who was allied with the United States, Abdul Raziq, known for many human rights abuses. And the local education chief said, “Yes, we built it here, and there were no children in this village for three years, so nobody really attended. The school never opened for a number of years.”

In another instance, the school I arrived at was empty, incomplete, never finished, and all the kids were across the street at a mosque having a religious education, not the curriculum that they were on the books as recording having had. And when I tried to figure out what happened, it turned out the contract for the school went to the brother of the district governor, who then, you know, pilfered the money, and it was never finished as a result of that.

Down the block in another part of Kandahar, the contract for a school was given to a notorious local warlord, who’s — actually, for the clinic that was going to be built next to the school — was given to this notorious warlord, who basically wound up being the source for the rise of the Taliban in many ways. His family was part of that sort of corruption in the early years that preceded the Taliban, that really riled up individuals to support the Taliban because of the massive corruption and the human rights abuses that were happening to Afghan people.

So, even something as noble and as worthy of effort as education has been mired in this kind of corruption, this kind of wheeling and dealing. And if we had to understand why, I think it’s the fact that counterterrorism goals were baked into every single aspect of the American project in Afghanistan. So, even something great like schools, you know, had these metrics, had this desire to imbue a counterterrorism narrative of some kind, that left them willing to work with people who were abusive actors in the name of fighting terrorism, when in reality they often undercut Afghan people and a lot of the promises of the United States at on almost every level.

AMY GOODMAN: Azmat Khan, I want to thank you for being with us and give Lieutenant [sic] Colonel Ann Wright the final word. As you speak to us now from Honolulu,, from Hawaii, and you look at what’s happening in Afghanistan, where you were almost two decades ago, what you think needs to happen, and what you think Americans should understand about the U.S. War in Afghanistan?

ANN WRIGHT: Well, I think that the U.S. public ought to be very wary of every administration that thinks that we should take a military option in trying to resolve any sort of conflict. We have seen that the United States in Vietnam, in Iraq, in Afghanistan — the lies that are told to us about why we need to go into countries with our military versus having some nonmilitary resolution to these issues is really, really important, and particularly as we face our government right now that’s saying that China and Russia are enemies that are threats to our national security. We, the U.S. people, have to push back against our government, against any more military invasions, occupations, attacks on any country.

And my heart goes out, it bleeds for the people of Afghanistan, who have suffered through these decades long of war, of violence. And I certainly hope that the next years somehow calm down and that the Taliban takes a very different tact than what it had when it was in power from 1996 to 2001, because the people of Afghanistan deserve much better than what they have had. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both for being with us, and of course we’ll continue to cover this. I demoted you, Ann. Ann Wright is a retired U.S. Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official who was part of the team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, in December 2001. And Azmat Khan, investigative reporter, contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, we’ll link to your articles, including the one you described, “Ghost Students, Ghost Teachers, Ghost Schools.”

When we come back, we go to Haiti, where the tropical storm has slammed the same parts of the country shattered by the earthquake on Saturday that’s killed more than 1,400 people. Stay with us.


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We are advised by Muslim scholars that Inshallah is often misused by Westerners and Muslims alike. And of course I use it in a satircal manner as the heading of this blog... 


Inshallah is a dirty word… It forces people — especially women — to submit to the will of old men who pose as representative of god. It’s a deceitful invention. I shuddered in Europe (when it was still okay to travel) when I heard my dinky-dy whitey friends say the word as an integration of customs from the Muslim world to appear "progressive". I could not argue. They were trapped by the wrongside of multi-culturalism. Suddlenly, in a few short years, they had lost their own willpower to that of fate dictated mostly by others — old men in turbans. Sure, the neat explanation of Inshallah is "god willing" in our ventures, not in dodging our laziness in refusing to do something. But more often than not we have to do the opposite of "god's will" in order to be fair and knowledgeable... The power of this little phrase/word had wiped out the last 200 years of scientific observations and discoveries. "God willing”? Bugger off...


As an atheist, I reject the notion of freedom of religion when it is contrary to human rights and secular government — as most religions have been against the notion of women’s rights. Even in in the USA, the rights of abortion is fought about on religious lines — between traditionalists and religious progessives. It’s ugly... We have to remember the altercation between Trump and Biden the-religious-man in a debate about Trump taxes... Biden shows his ignorance of both business and religion.


Biden uses 'inshallah' in response to Trump during debate


During the first 2020 US presidential debate, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden dropped a phrase from everyday Muslim and Arab vocabulary and lit up the internet.


Trump's tax minimisation scheme IS LEGAL... He is not the first person (nor the first president to use it). Remember our own Kerry Packer (bless the great man):


An Production — Highlights of Kerry Packer's 1991 House of Reps Select Committee on Print Media Appearance. It includes perhaps the most famous Australian anti-government quote, where Packer says that anyone who pays more tax than they can get away with needs their head examined. For more radical and principled politics from other great Australians, like John Singleton, Lang Hancock and Neville Kennard, like and subscribe to You can now direct people to this video by telling them to go to . The full version is available at .



No Inshallah there... Just a plain explanation about taxes...



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the US government lied...

The U.S. Government Lied For Two Decades About AfghanistanUsing the same deceitful tactics they pioneered in Vietnam, U.S. political and military officials repeatedly misled the country about the prospects for success in Afghanistan.


BY Glenn Greenwald


“The Taliban regime is coming to an end,” announced President George W. Bush at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on December 12, 2001 — almost twenty years ago today. Five months later, Bush vowed: “In the United States of America, the terrorists have chosen a foe unlike they have faced before. . . . We will stay until the mission is done.” Four years after that, in August of 2006, Bush announced: “Al Qaeda and the Taliban lost a coveted base in Afghanistan and they know they will never reclaim it when democracy succeeds.  . . . The days of the Taliban are over. The future of Afghanistan belongs to the people of Afghanistan.” 


For two decades, the message Americans heard from their political and military leaders about the country’s longest war was the same. America is winning. The Taliban is on the verge of permanent obliteration. The U.S. is fortifying the Afghan security forces, which are close to being able to stand on their own and defend the government and the country.


Just five weeks ago, on July 8, President Biden stood in the East Room of the White House and insisted that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was not inevitable because, while their willingness to do so might be in doubt, “the Afghan government and leadership . . . clearly have the capacity to sustain the government in place.” Biden then vehemently denied the accuracy of a reporter’s assertion that “your own intelligence community has assessed that the Afghan government will likely collapse.” Biden snapped: “That is not true.  They did not — they didn’t — did not reach that conclusion.”

Biden continued his assurances by insisting that “the likelihood there’s going to be one unified government in Afghanistan controlling the whole country is highly unlikely.” He went further: “the likelihood that there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” And then, in an exchange that will likely assume historic importance in terms of its sheer falsity from a presidential podium, Biden issued this decree:

Q.  Mr. President, some Vietnamese veterans see echoes of their experience in this withdrawal in Afghanistan.  Do you see any parallels between this withdrawal and what happened in Vietnam, with some people feeling —

THE PRESIDENT:  None whatsoever.  Zero.  What you had is — you had entire brigades breaking through the gates of our embassy — six, if I’m not mistaken. 

The Taliban is not the south — the North Vietnamese army. They’re not — they’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability.  There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan.  It is not at all comparable. 

When asked about the Taliban being stronger than ever after twenty years of U.S. warfare there, Biden claimed: “Relative to the training and capacity of the [Afghan National Security Forces} and the training of the federal police, they’re not even close in terms of their capacity.” On July 21 — just three weeks ago — Gen. Mark Milley, Biden’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conceded that “there’s a possibility of a complete Taliban takeover, or the possibility of any number of other scenario,” yet insisted: “the Afghan Security Forces have the capacity to sufficiently fight and defend their country.”


Similar assurances have been given by the U.S. Government and military leadership to the American people since the start of the war. “Are we losing this war?,” Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, asked rhetorically in a news briefing from Afghanistan in 2008, answering it this way: “Absolutely no way. Can the enemy win it? Absolutely no way.” On September 4, 2013, then-Lt. Gen. Milley — now Biden’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — complained that the media was not giving enough credit to the progress they had made in building up the Afghan national security forces: “This army and this police force have been very, very effective in combat against the insurgents every single day,” Gen. Milley insisted.

None of this was true. It was always a lie, designed first to justify the U.S’s endless occupation of that country and, then, once the U.S. was poised to withdraw, to concoct a pleasing fairy tale about why the prior twenty years were not, at best, an utter waste. That these claims were false cannot be reasonably disputed as the world watches the Taliban take over all of Afghanistan as if the vaunted “Afghan national security forces” were china dolls using paper weapons. But how do we know that these statements made over the course of two decades were actual lies rather than just wildly wrong claims delivered with sincerity?


To begin with, we have seen these tactics from U.S. officials — lying to the American public about wars to justify both their initiation and continuation — over and over. The Vietnam War, like the Iraq War, was begun with a complete fabrication disseminated by the intelligence community and endorsed by corporate media outlets: that the North Vietnamese had launched an unprovoked attack on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. In 2011, President Obama, who ultimately ignored a Congressional vote against authorization of his involvement in the war in Libya to topple Muammar Qaddafi, justified the NATO war by denying that regime change was the goal: “our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives . . . broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.” Even as Obama issued those false assurances, The New York Times reported that “the American military has been carrying out an expansive and increasingly potent air campaign to compel the Libyan Army to turn against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.”

Just as they did for the war in Afghanistan, U.S. political and military leaders lied for years to the American public about the prospects for winning in Vietnam. On June 13, 1971, The New York Times published reports about thousands of pages of top secret documents from military planners that came to be known as “The Pentagon Papers.” Provided by former RAND official Daniel Ellsberg, who said he could not in good conscience allow official lies about the Vietnam War to continue, the documents revealed that U.S. officials in secret were far more pessimistic about the prospects for defeating the North Vietnamese than their boastful public statements suggested. In 2021, The New York Times recalled some of the lies that were demonstrated by that archive on the 50th Anniversary of its publication:

Brandishing a captured Chinese machine gun, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara appeared at a televised news conference in the spring of 1965. The United States had just sent its first combat troops to South Vietnam, and the new push, he boasted, was further wearing down the beleaguered Vietcong.

“In the past four and one-half years, the Vietcong, the Communists, have lost 89,000 men,” he said. “You can see the heavy drain.”

That was a lie. From confidential reports, McNamara knew the situation was “bad and deteriorating” in the South. “The VC have the initiative,” the information said. “Defeatism is gaining among the rural population, somewhat in the cities, and even among the soldiers.”

Lies like McNamara’s were the rule, not the exception, throughout America’s involvement in Vietnam. The lies were repeated to the public, to Congress, in closed-door hearings, in speeches and to the press. 

The real story might have remained unknown if, in 1967, McNamara had not commissioned a secret history based on classified documents — which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. By then, he knew that even with nearly 500,000 U.S. troops in theater, the war was at a stalemate.

The pattern of lying was virtually identical throughout several administrations when it came to Afghanistan. In 2019, The Washington Post — obviously with a nod to the Pentagon Papers — published a report about secret documents it dubbed “The Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war.” Under the headline “AT WAR WITH THE TRUTH,” The Post summarized its findings: “U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it, an exclusive Post investigation found.” They explained:

Year after year, U.S. generals have said in public they are making steady progress on the central plank of their strategy: to train a robust Afghan army and national police force that can defend the country without foreign help.

In the Lessons Learned interviews, however, U.S. military trainers described the Afghan security forces as incompetent, unmotivated and rife with deserters. They also accused Afghan commanders of pocketing salaries — paid by U.S. taxpayers — for tens of thousands of “ghost soldiers.”

None expressed confidence that the Afghan army and police could ever fend off, much less defeat, the Taliban on their own. More than 60,000 members of Afghan security forces have been killed, a casualty rate that U.S. commanders have called unsustainable.

As the Post explained, “the documents contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.” Those documents dispel any doubt about whether these falsehoods were intentional:

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White House — to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”

John Sopko, the head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, acknowledged to The Post that the documents show “the American people have constantly been lied to.”


Last month, the independent journalist Michael Tracey, writing at Substack, interviewed a U.S. veteran of the war in Afghanistan. The former soldier, whose job was to work in training programs for the Afghan police and also participated in training briefings for the Afghan military, described in detail why the program to train Afghan security forces was such an obvious failure and even a farce. “I don’t think I could overstate that this was a system just basically designed for funneling money and wasting or losing equipment,” he said. In sum, “as far as the US military presence there — I just viewed it as a big money funneling operation”: an endless money pit for U.S. security contractors and Afghan warlords, all of whom knew that no real progress was being made, just sucking up as much U.S. taxpayer money as they could before the inevitable withdraw and takeover by the Taliban.


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the saudi equation...

We chastise the Taliban for their treatment of women... THE SAME HAS TO APPLY TO SAUDI ARABIA... Unfortunately the Saudi situation gets forgotten...




By Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

The global reaction to the situation in Afghanistan must be concerted, united, firm and centred on the rights of women and girls, making sure we move forwards and not backwards


This is the focus of the latest statement by UN Women which declares that this United Nations entity is “fully committed to support women and girls in Afghanistan”, adding that “women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan must have only one direction and that is forward”. The statement highlights the “pivotal role” of women and girls in the development of Afghanistan throughout history and underlines the need for their “hard-won rights” to be protected.

Grave concern

Expressing its “grave concern” at the current situation, UN Women calls on Afghanistan to guarantee fundamental human rights for all citizens, and for the authorities to fulfil their obligations “to protect civilians and to provide humanitarians with unimpeded access to deliver timely and life-saving services and aid”.

“Women’s and girls’ rights must be at the core of the global response to the current crisis”, ends the statement.


The authorities in power, whether this be through an election or by taking power in a vacuum, which is the case in Afghanistan, or whether these authorities be an invading force, have a common responsibility to provide services for and serve the citizens living under their control.


Not the time to apportion blame

Today, the situation is what it is and this is not the time to point fingers and apportion blame. The Taliban are in control of Afghanistan but with this control comes responsibility and the obligation to perform a role providing governance. This is the twenty-first century, 2021 for many people, 1443 for Moslems, it is not the sixth century or the Early Middle Ages when Christians were behaving like the Taliban of the 1990s, when the Taliban of the 1990s were behaving like the barbarians of western Europe a thousand years before.

In today’s world there are common human values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has nothing to do with race, colour or creed. It is a milestone which sets out basic and fundamental values for all to enjoy and for all to follow. 

If the Taliban wish to be treated and respected as a part of the modern international community and not as a bunch of extremist savages, a pariah movement which is an outrage to any accepted norms of decency and civilization, then the Taliban have to behave accordingly.

The Taliban might be in power in Afghanistan but that does not mean they are not being watched by the entire international community, it also means that there are international mechanisms (unfortunately not as strong as they might be because some nations continuously flout international law and breach UN Charters or else launch invasions outside the auspices of the UNSC) and while the Taliban might think they can live with impunity, they are nevertheless accountable and sooner or later will be brought to justice.

This is the year 2021, or 1443. Universal rights exist. Women and girls have the right to dress as they like, act as they choose, walk freely in the streets, study at any time to any level of education and nobody has the right to take this away from anyone, no religion or creed states anywhere that this should not be the case.

A question of choice, not imposition

Islam, like any other religion, is open to interpretation in its teachings. Women in Islam had far more rights than most women living in Christendom and many people, including many Jews, fled to the East because they enjoyed better human rights under the Ottomans for instance than under Christian rulers. Under the Qu´ran, men and women have equal moral agency on Earth and have the same status, or rewards, in the afterlife. The sunnah (teachings or example) of Mohammed show that both men and women have equal rights to seek knowledge.

Who are the Taliban to change the message of the Qu´ran and to go against the teachings of Mohammed?


Conclusion: The Taliban are Afghans, living in their country among their own people. While one understands that they do not want foreigners ruling over them, something that nobody has ever managed to do, it is also true that in today’s world there exist universal values and people are free to choose how they live. If the Taliban wish to follow Sharia law and live under its impositions, Islam is a noble religion, a religion of peace and respect and charity. If a woman chooses to reveal herself only to her husband at home and wear a burqah outside, that is her choice. If she chooses to submit to her husband’s will and not study, also. I have known western women living in western Europe who were beaten by their husbands for studying. But if a woman chooses to go outside without a burqah and to get a University education, this is not today a question of religion, it is a fundamental and basic human birthright.

The author can be reached at

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Read from top. GUSNOTE: knowledge for women in Wahhabiland is to read the K'ran all day long...






















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the taliban lies...

Growing up in Afghanistan, university student Shkula Zadran has good reason to fear the Taliban.

She has seen their many acts of terrorism in Kabul.

The first she can recall was when she was in year six at school. 

"There was a huge blast in front of our school," she said.

"I still remember the parts of human bodies lying down in our schoolyard.

"I have witnessed many, many incidents, from my childhood to a few months ago."

Shkula Zadran spent her early years as a refugee in Pakistan after her family fled the Taliban when it ruled over much of Afghanistan, enforcing a brutal Islamist regime that banned women from higher education and career opportunities.

Since returning to her home country, Ms Zadran has achieved success that was impossible under the old regime.


Last year, she was the country's youth representative to the United Nations, where she spoke about how young Afghans wanted peace.

When the Taliban took the capital, it seemed everything she and women like her had achieved over many years was being destroyed in a matter of days.

"As a part of this young generation, we have put all our efforts and struggles into building this republic," she said.

Shkula decides to stay — for now 

The Taliban has vowed to be a more modern version of the old, oppressive outfit, with leaders speaking of education and employment opportunities for women.

But the Taliban's legacy of barbarity had led thousands of Afghans to flock to the airport in a desperate bid to board an evacuation flight.

Many women, including Ms Zadran, are staying at home, fearing the streets that Taliban militants roam are now too unsafe.


I was born in war, grew up in war, getting old in war, and most probably i will die in war. You need to be an Afghan to realize meaning of terror and helplessness.

— Shkula Zadran August 20, 2021

But despite the security threat, Ms Zadran said she would only flee the country if she was forced out.

"I'm desperately trying to be optimistic and be hopeful for the future," she said.

"It's not that we are welcoming all those things and incidents that are happening around us. It's just because we don't have any other option. They have been imposed on us.


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