Since the fall of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021, Afghan women—many of whom dedicated their lives and careers to working for equality—have experienced a systematic campaign of violence and subjugation. Many took to the streets to protest, and in turn have been beaten, arrested, tortured and murdered. This firsthand account of Mursal Ayar’s life and arrest is a powerful reminder of our common humanity, and the duty we all share to protect the world’s most vulnerable—yet remarkable—activists.
“After those 13 days, I am like a little girl who is afraid of the night. I sleep next to my mother. The Taliban have not only taken my country from me; they have taken everything from me. My peace, my dreams, my hope and courage. I left the Taliban prison, but I could not regain what I have lost forever.”