Interview with Sudaba - the organiser of the first anti-Taliban demonstration in Kabul. Interview by Farooq Sulheria.
An edited transcript of the interview from Europe Solidaire San Frontiers is below.
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Tell us something about yourself.
I am a university student. I was born during the period of first Taliban rule (1997-2001). I work with a private-sector employer as well.
Where was this protest organized. How did the idea of protest came to your mind and how many more friends were involved.
It was held outside of the Presidential Palace. We were a group of students. We were very upset. Our decision was sudden. It was not any pre-planned act. All the men and women are afraid of the Taliban. They were not ready to step outside of the homes. We want to demand our rights [through this action] and to encourage others to demand their rights.
The Taliban gunmen were present. What did they say?
Yes, there were the Taliban gunmen. They did not respect us. They were very angry. They snatched our papers and mobiles. However, when the national and international media crew started arriving, they changed their behavior. Earlier, they were pointing their guns at us.
Are you underground after the demo. Any threats after the demo?
We are underground. Every day, we move to a new place. Our families, however, are staying on in their respective homes. They are afraid. We are all in big trouble. Understandably.
Do you think your protest led to more protests that started next day on?
This demonstration had significant impact on the Afghan society. Specifically, it encouraged the women to come out of their homes and lead the demonstrations.
What next? Are you planning to escape Afghanistan?
We plan to stay on until they are not threatening to kill us.
How have your families responded, were they aware of your action in advance?
Our families did not know anything. They did not even know that we had stepped outside of the homes. When they watched the demonstration on television, they were angry at us. We can understand them. They want us to be safe. But it is critical time. We cannot stay silent.