Interview: Aman Mirzaei
“Like the previous meeting, they trade behind scenes under the name of women but many thought this meeting was for women.”
Nimrokh: Introduce yourself first and tell us about Sara Nabil’s life and her concerns, please.
Answer: I am Sara Nabil, an artist in the field of decorative arts, visual arts, and in my postgraduate studies at a German university in the field of art and also a human rights activist, especially women’s rights. Sara Nabil’s worries can be either huge or small at the same time. I have been fighting through social and artificial works to make changes in human rights since I was thirteen.
Nimrokh: We know Sara Nabil as an artist and women’s rights activist. What was the reason for Ms. Nabil’s protests in recent days?
Answer: Sara Nabil has two dimensions, someone who lives in two societies is a fighter in both societies, but Sara Nabil, who has lived in Germany since 2015, is a protesting artist, and Sara Nabil, who was born in Afghanistan and lived until 2015 has been a fighter artist for women’s rights and human rights. The reason for my protests, which have increased these days, as a woman, is the bitter memories of a child who had been with the Taliban since 2012 and continues to this day. The reason for my protests is 13 years of struggle that was full of adventure, good and bad, endless pain and endless suffering, and a few days ago the Taliban brutally captured and killed a number of protesting women, some are still in captivity while the Taliban shamelessly deny it. All the past and recent pains have made me protest, to speak out for the demands of women, against the Taliban terrorists who were committing repression and violence, explosions and suicide, and worst of all, the repression of women.
Nimrokh: As a female fighter, what is your definition of the Taliban and the reasons for your opposition to them?
Answer: The Taliban is an ideology, bigger than what they show and represent. A completely anti-feminist ideology that severely seeks to eliminate woman, woman identity, woman existence mentally and physically. Talibanism can not accept a woman as a human being at all, the reasons for my opposition are that, first of all, I am a woman, they have always sought to eliminate us, and throughout history, these 27 years, not only girls today but our literate mothers in the past were imprisoned at home by the Taliban.
I remember my thirteen-year-old sister, who was secretly studying, wearing a burqa to go to school, not knowing how to walk with it, tying the books to her chest and leaving the house in fear of being caught by the Taliban and punishing my sister and consequently my family, my parents and… I remember the extremely violent and brutal images that I have in my mind and may never be erased from my mind, they punished innocent people brutally and inhumanely on the street. They killed and tied them to trees. From 2001 to 2021, they committed suicide every day, in front of our eyes, thousands of people were killed, dismembered. There was always the fear of Taliban terrorist acts in our lives, when I left home to go to school I told my mother:Goodbye forever, I may not return home alive. All these memories and events have made me see myself as a woman in opposition to the Taliban and their ideology. I am one of the 51% of the society that has always been hurt, some have more tragic memories than me therefore I decided to stand up today and protest. I have always thought of as a human being first and a woman second, I do not believe in language, ethnicity, and I think of equality, freedom, and human rights and Taliban conflicts with all my thoughts and ideas.
Nimrokh: Talk about the compulsory hijab and the outfit of Rina Amiri in front of the Taliban?
Answer: As a woman, a women’s rights activist, and a fighter, I express my opinion, why a few nights ago I protested and addressed the Taliban and the international community, I do not trust the Taliban with their actions, the experiences of these twenty years show that the Taliban are not trustworthy, they are conservative people, politics, in general, knows nothing but interests and benefits. I consider Ms. Rina Amiri’s behavior as a conservative one, giving in and accepting the ideology of Talibanism. This is how Ms. Rina Amiri can represent the United States in the Afghan women’s section, who is not yet honest with herself.
We should be honest, not two_faced, I am against this kind of behavior and I do not believe it. Another reason I protested was the result of such meetings? The fall of Afghanistan and similar meetings may lead to the recognition of the Taliban.
Nimrokh: What was the purpose of the Oslo Summit and how do you evaluate women’s participation?
Answer: According to my evaluation, I read the interviews, followed the news, and had direct contact and conversations with Ms. Khamosh. This meeting did not have any results for women. Many people think that the opening of schools is one of the results of the conference. I would say they are wrong because the Taliban had promised before the conference that they wanted to open schools. A question arises: it is true that they open schools, in what quality? By what mechanism? What is taught in those schools? In what way are the girls supposed to go to school? These are vague issues.
If these schools are to be opened and taught in the form of extremism, and in the future, terrorists will be presented to society, they should remain closed.
In the women’s section, the things that should have been done were the release of women who are imprisoned, but unfortunately, it did not happen. The Taliban still deny that we did not detain these women in front of the international community. As in previous meetings, women at the conference were only names that they could trade behind the scenes. Many thought that this meeting was for women, for the guarantees that the Taliban should give to the international community towards women, and for the freedom of women prisoners, which was a total failure, and that other issues were aid and how to form a government in the future and Loya Jirga, the Loya Jirga is not the solution, and I am not very optimistic in these areas either, because setting up the Loya Jirga is to take power by the Taliban. If the Taliban is to come and interact, elections must be held democratically, not by the Loya Jirga.
Unfortunately, this meeting not only failed, but also gave the Taliban an international tribune that they were able to use very well and show the world that they exist, and some of them claim that such meetings help them to be recognized. We lost this meeting because it had no result for women. Of course, this is my view.
Nimrokh: Tell us about the situation of women who immigrated due to the arrival of the Taliban and your experience of immigration.
Answer: It is very difficult to leave a place where a person is born with many bitter and sweet memories. I have a close relationship with Afghanistan, I consider myself a cosmopolitan who has been forcibly displaced from her own country. Leaving the place where the dearest people in her life are, has memories, and is related to its environment and space. At the age of 19, I was separated from my mother’s arms, the hero of my life, my father as well. Now I have come miles away from my family to stand on my feet, and these seven years of migration have had challenges, joys, and opportunities, problems such as language learning, integration into a new country, and a new culture, all are common difficult experiences for immigrants. Of course, I worked with the German Immigration Office and helped immigrants to integrate into the new country.
Nimrokh: Is it conceivable that women will accept the Taliban in Afghanistan and give up their demands?
Answer: By no means should they do this, and I say never from my point of view! I’m sure women who go to the streets fearlessly and raise their voices against the Taliban want their rights, I do not think they will accept it. The Taliban is not at all acceptable with this thought and ideology, and they can not be interacted with under any circumstances. Perhaps, it can interact if the Taliban come out of the issue of religion, ethnicity, and language to respect the human values of women, not just respect, must accept. There is a big difference between respect and acceptance.
The Taliban must acknowledge that Afghan women make up 51 percent of Afghanistan’s population. Taliban must accept that Afghan women have studied up to bachelor’s, master and Taliban must admit that today Afghan women understand their rights and never trade their rights with anything. Whenever the Taliban accepts these issues, then they can be interacted with. Whenever the Taliban accepts Afghan women as human beings, from a human point of view, not from the point of view of Islam, nor Sharia, then we can interact with them.
Nimrokh: What do you think about the future of women?
Answer: Regarding women, we must say that if we win, our society owes it to these women. Afghanistan owes its women. I hope that women will move forward in a united, stronger way, and that tomorrow, we will see a very bright future with the process that lies ahead. I hope that the issue will not penetrate, that the voice will split and lose its unity. Tomorrow Afghanistan will be indebted to these women.
Nimrokh: As a woman, how do you want the future of Afghanistan to be governed?
Answer: For me as a human being and in the next step as an Afghan woman, I want a kind of democratic government in Afghanistan, with democratic and human values. Where there is no difference between one person and another, neither in terms of gender, ethnicity, nor religion, and I want such a political system for Afghanistan. A completely humane system to which every citizen’s rights are given without discrimination.
Nimrokh:Do you as an artist, open-minded and women’s rights activist agree with the federal system in Afghanistan?
Answer: Of course, it is a very difficult question, we have a very big enemy today called the Taliban, first I ask people to come, try, stand by women and defeat this enemy, we will still have enough time to talk about Whether federal, centralized or decentralized, parliamentary, or how… this is my answer as a fighter and a women’s rights activist, but it’s a very important political question that political analysis can better answer. I do not want Afghanistan to be separated while the world moves towards globalization. I said: I want a country and a government that respects human rights and is democratic. It does not matter if it is federal or centralized. I do not believe in political borders and I disagree separation of Afghanistan.
Nimrokh: Countries such as Iran, Pakistan, and Russia are supporting groups in Afghanistan and seeking benefits, and civil wars seem likely. Do you think civil wars are less harmful than the presence of the Taliban?
Answer: We can not compare bad with bad, if we compare we can not conclude and find a solution. As bad as the Taliban are, civil wars are worse, so for me, there is no difference between the Taliban and civil wars. We saw that before the Taliban came, we had civil wars, and the Taliban came worse than a civil war. The war is not the result, we are in a position to talk about the Taliban and how to defeat them.
Nimrokh: What do you think about the return of NATO and the United States?
Answer: I prefer to separate the United States, as it came, left Afghanistan and went. Today, if the Taliban came, it is the fault of the United States that they handed over Afghanistan to the Taliban in Qatar with shameful deals, we should not forget. I think it would be foolish to think of retaking Afghanistan by the United States. Either NATO, which is made up of European countries, or the United Nations could be a better solution if they send troops to Afghanistan. We have the experience of the past, the best solution is for the Afghans to come together to form a coalition and create a solution for their country so that we should not fall back on the United States and Russia, and after half a century of war, it has reached our bones. I think it is enough and we must stop it.
Nimrokh: Can you say more about the infamous deal between the US and the Taliban, and do you think the US and NATO are looking for a change of government in Afghanistan?
Answer: What should I say about the US deal, it is clear to everyone that the US suddenly decided to leave Afghanistan without realizing the consequences in Afghanistan. The Taliban were fighting and conducting more operations every day while peace talks were held in Doha. The United States, as a country in Afghanistan, had invested and sent experts and had sacrificed for twenty years. Unfortunately, they did not think of any of them and they came out without any measures. Every country indeed has its interests but they knew that the Taliban had not changed so they brought them to power indirectly.
This is a defeat not only for the United States but for the whole West. They invested, sent experts, and sacrificed soldiers but left Afghanistan without responsibility and signed an agreement with the Taliban which gave them more power to defeat the previous regime in a very short time. What can be seen today is that they seek to recognize the Taliban and seek interaction. In the previous system, whatever it was, a fledgling democracy was formed and men and women lived freely, the media was formed and there was relative freedom. If we consider this small amount as the result of twenty years, it is very shameful for the United States and NATO that they exchanged the same with the Taliban. Of course, the United States had no other choice, and the West was tired, especially since the previous regime was very dirty and corrupt, a system in which everyone thought only of themselves and their own pockets, but Talibanism could not be a good alternative to the Republic.
Nimrokh: With the current situation in the country, which country should we trust?
Answer: First we have to trust each other, today we have become so distrustful of each other that this calamity has befallen us. Afghans must think for themselves and be united. Other countries were in Afghanistan and we saw the results.
Nimrokh: In the end, do you have any message for Afghan women, women protesters, and those who are fighting like you?
Answer: It is appropriate to thank the women of Afghanistan, perhaps Thanksgiving is a small word for what they do and will do. Fearless fight against one of the biggest terrorist groups, stand up and protest, need courage and bravery. The struggle is a long way, the struggle is not a matter of one or two days, I want them not to get tired, they must become stronger, grow bigger, and be united in this struggle. I call on the men of Afghanistan to stand by women and fight against the Taliban, to support women, and to make the same demands. I repeat: the struggle is not a short path, the struggle is a long path, do not be unmotivated, do not lose your belief and power. Finally, we win the field.