Afghanistan dispatch: ‘In the final weeks of my bachelor’s degree, I was studying law, but there was no rule of law, no freedom, and no law.’ Dispatches
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Afghanistan dispatch: ‘In the final weeks of my bachelor’s degree, I was studying law, but there was no rule of law, no freedom, and no law.’

Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation that has developed there since the Taliban takeover. Here, our correspondent, a now-graduated law student, reflects on her academic, professional and personal circumstances before and after the fall of Kabul on August 15, 2021.  For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our correspondent’s name. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

I’m writing my story as a law student on the day that the Taliban took over the country.

I was in my last semester in Law and Political Science. The day Afghanistan collapsed I was involved in many self-made programs and plans: learning three foreign languages, competing in numerous national and international competitions, writing proposals, attempting to establish learning clubs at my university, attempting to obtain internships, and so on.

As an active law student, when the dark shadow of the Taliban took over the bright sky of Afghanistan, I lost everything I had and everything I wished to have in the future.

In the very first days of the Taliban invasion, the French institute in Afghanistan stopped its activities, such as administering international DELF/DALF tests, organizing learning classes and other kinds of cultural activities. The groups organizing international competitions in Afghanistan stopped their activities and a large number of students who had been involved in these competitions were obliged to stop following their dreams. The doors of universities, schools, and other learning institutions were closed; many international scholarship programs stopped their activities in Afghanistan, … and half the Afghan people are obliged to stay at home. I am one of that large number, a woman.

On August 15th, I lost my future, my dreams, the best version of myself in the near future, my favorite path and my peace.

After that day, I was deprived of the chance of going to university; I couldn’t follow my French and English classes; I wasn’t able to take French and English exams; I couldn’t participate in national and international competitions; I was deprived of the opportunity to get internships; I was deprived of serving my country.

After that day, I was obliged to stay at home, to forget myself, to leave my dreams,

On that dark day, I lost my freedom.

We lost everything.

After many months and with people putting lots of effort into it, the Taliban finally opened the university doors. I went to university, but it wasn’t the university that we left before August 15th. The university was empty, empty of freedom, ambition, and hope.

A gender separation plan was imposed and the male professors weren’t allowed to teach girls; the enter and exit times were fixed and no one could go out or into the university outside of the fixed times; wearing colorful dresses was forbidden; even taking a photo was forbidden for girls at university. Taliban forces were entering the faculties randomly with their guns to control the application of their ridiculous plans at university; university student associations were dissolved by the Taliban; the pictures of distinguished female professors and students were removed from the walls of faculties. The learning clubs have stopped their activities by the force of the Taliban, and the most important thing is that there was no rule of law in the faculty founded on the Rule of Law.

In the final weeks of my bachelor’s degree, I was studying law, but there was no rule of law, no freedom, and no law.

In spite of all these restrictions, I eventually graduated, but I’m still at home. I am unable to work, pursue more education in Afghanistan, and serve my country.

Yes, the doors of universities are technically open in Afghanistan, but the kankor (university entrance exam) is not going to be taken, girls’ schools are not going to be opened, and our lost freedom is not going to be acquired.

This is a very small part of my life under the rule of the Taliban. I’m not the person that I was hoping to be before August 15th. The Taliban broke my path.

They are trying to suppress, imprison, ignore, and stop women. But honestly, who can stop this generation?