Zoya  ·  Afghanistan


Diary of An Afghan Woman

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With this hope, I still live and fight - September 22, 2021

Woman Light
Painting by Elizabeth Benson Thayer

The story of my life is very tragic and painful, of course for myself.

I had just finished the twelfth grade and at my brother’s request, I was forced to marry a man who was twenty years older than me and already had two other wives and twelve children. From that time on my happy life turned into sorrow.

This man practices ​misogyny and supports the Taliban, and has always treated me with violence.

He was not happy about the birth of my daughters because he loved boys. Early in my life, I lived in the same house with his two wives and his children, of course during the first period of Taliban rule. After the fall of the Taliban government, I urged my husband to allow me to continue my studies.

I became a teacher and came to my father’s house with my father’s support from the village - he always supported me.

But in my father’s house, we lived together with my brother and his wife, and I was confronted with the violence of my brother’s wife. She was constantly arguing with me.

I lived on my teacher’s salary and did not want my daughters to grow up under the violence of their father. I wanted them to be calm.

Fortunately, with the help of my parents, I was able to provide a simple life for my children. I put a lot of effort into teaching them, and that’s why they always received great grades in school.

I wish my daughters to have the best job in the future.

I did not tell them about the violence their father used against me because I did not want their minds to be confused and complicated. I always played with them so that they would not feel distant from their father.

My father, God bless him, was very kind, and after my father died, I thought my children lost their father for the second time.

My husband only wants to be a father by name. He wants my daughters to get married sooner so he will get enough money for them and so that he will no longer have any paternal responsibilities.

The only thing that has always given me hope and strength, is that maybe one day my children will grow up, study, and I will see their progress. I will see the fruits of my efforts in the ability of my children.

Now with this hope, I still live and fight.

Woman Cry2
Painting by Elizabeth Benson Thayer

September 8, 2021

Noor is Leaving

My daughter Noor is leaving to get her visa today. On the one hand, I am very happy that she can leave Afghanistan and study. On the other hand, I am worried that her father has not given her permission to go. He said that if Noor leaves the country, he would take Hasti with him to his village, or bring the Taliban to our house. I do not know what will happen, I’m worried. Anyway, thank you for thinking of us.

September 7, 2021

What I Teach

I teach Dari literature, and patriotism. It is a heartwarming subject which it describes literary and historical topics, patriotism, national heroes, and so many stories. I teach these subjects in the seventh and eighth classes. They are really interesting topics and I enjoy teaching them.

September 2, 2021


My name is Zoya. I am 47 years old. I have lived without my husband for many years. I took care of my daughters alone. One of my daughters got married a while ago and now I live with my two daughters and my mother. There are four of us in the house and I get my necessities from my job as a teacher.

For 20 years I have been teaching in a school in Afghanistan. Even though I did not have a high salary, I was still able to manage my life. Almost everything was fine before the Taliban came to our country. My daughters could go to school and courses and study in a safe environment. I could also go to school and teach without any fear.
I take good care of my mother, who is now very old and weak.

But now everything has changed, nothing continues as before.

Now, my daughters can not go to school or go out. I am not allowed to go to school to teach because the fate of women under Taliban rule is still unknown. I fear for my future and for my daughters. I worry that we will no longer be able to go out and be safe. I’m worried that my daughters will not be able to go to school anymore, I do not know what will happen.

The Taliban do not allow women to leave their homes without a man, and if they see a woman alone, they beat her. We have no men in the house, we are only four women. It is my responsibility to take care of the house and I have to go out every day and buy the necessities of the house. But, I can no longer go out alone, I am afraid the Taliban will harm me or my daughters.

On the other hand, some people say that the Taliban have become good people. People say they are completely different from those who came 20 years ago, but my heart can not accept this. A few years ago, I saw with my own eyes the presence of the Taliban. They had no mercy on women and forced men to dress and behave as the Taliban wanted. I still think they have not changed because a few weeks have passed since their arrival, and the fate of all men and women is still unknown.

I do not want my daughters to experience what I saw and experienced a few years ago, I do not want that bitter life again. I hope to be able to provide a safe environment for my daughters again. I am ready to do anything to educate them and make them happy because I am both their father and mother.

Edited by Nicole Taylor

Illustration by Sarah Jane Dayley

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