An Afghan women’s defender politician managed to escape near-certain death at the hands of the Taliban

Fawzia Koofi

Fawzia Koofi survived at least two assassination attempts and was one of the few women chosen to participate in the talks with the Taliban. He promised that one day he would return to the country.

Fawzia Koofi, a prominent Afghan women’s advocate and former lawmaker, managed to leave Kabul on Monday night on one of the last evacuation flights, despite the fact that Taliban militants had placed her under house arrest and took her home.

Koofi was the first girl in her family to go to school and became the first female vice president of Afghanistan’s parliament. She survived at least two assassination attempts and, last year, was one of the few women chosen to participate in talks to form a government with the Taliban.

Ten days ago, politics had ruled out leaving the country, but he was eventually reunited with his two daughters, who had flown to Qatar on previous flights.

“I was afraid of being oppressed, of being under house arrest, not of being killed by those people,” Koofi said in a BBC radio interview on Tuesday. “I never wanted to leave… To leave in a situation where you think that thousands, maybe millions of people are desperate and hopeless… leaving those people, emotionally, I felt so inadequate.”

It was not immediately clear how Koofi managed to escape the Taliban fighters guarding his home or if he was simply allowed to leave. After his arrival in Doha, he thanked the Deputy Foreign Minister of Qatar who had given the first news of his safe arrival.

Koofi told the BBC that it was “heartbreaking to see everything collapse,” although he promised that he would one day return to Afghanistan.

This Tuesday, he asked the Taliban through Twitter to form a representative government of the different factions present in Afghanistan. “Taliban, listen to us: we must rebuild together!” he wrote. “This land belongs to all of us.”

The former Afghan lawmaker, who once had hopes of running for president, in recent days joined a chorus of criticism about how the United States handled the withdrawal of its troops without a political agreement.

“After 20 years of US / NATO presence and all the promises made to our civil society, women and youth, that chapter was abruptly closed,” he added on the social network.

The return of the Taliban sparked fears that their government’s harsh law from 1996 to 2001 will be re-applied, especially for women who came to be convicted of going out alone.

Koofi called on foreign governments to ensure that the Taliban do not rule in the same way again, warning that the country could become an extremist sanctuary if abandoned.

“If the world thinks that this is none of its business, that this is an Afghan war … believe me, sooner or later it will return to its borders, ” he warned.

In addition to Koofi, Afghanistan’s Minister for Women also said she had escaped on Tuesday . Hasina Safi told Australia’s ABC News that she hid her face to pass the militants and enter the Kabul airport during the final days of the evacuation, in what she called the “most difficult decision” of her life.