Halifax woman shares terror of living under the Taliban

Roya SayedRoya Sayed
Roya Sayed
Hearing Roya Sayed speak of her fears for her loved ones and millions of others in Afghanistan is heartbreaking.

The law graduate from Halifax who came to the UK in 2010 says the return of the terrifying regime which wiped out women’s and girls’ freedoms is inevitable now that the Taliban are back in control.

The group has claimed it will respect the rights of women “within the limits of Islam” - but Roya says there are already signs of the brutal rules that were in place previously.

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“20 years of democracy is gone in two weeks,” she said. “How has that happened? Those years will be repeated. Their ideology will be the same.”

Roya, now 36, was a child when the Taliban were last in charge.

“They treated women and girls like slaves,” she said. “You weren’t allowed to go out. You had to have a male to chaperone you.

“Every Friday there was something - hands being chopped, stoning or hanging.”

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She was able to learn English but only thanks to a brave woman willing to risk her safety to teach girls in secret.

The last 20 years has seen Afghan women accessing education and joining a host of different professions, but Roya despairs for their future now that the Taliban are back in power.

“I hope the UK will do something. It has to do something,” she said. “We don’t want that regime again.”

St Augustine's Centre in Halifax supports refugees.

It is looking for old mobiles and laptops which its tech team can repair and hand out.

It also welcomes any donations of money or new toiletries.

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Volunteers and befrienders are always needed, particularly anyone with painting or woodwork skills who can offer their time next week.

For more information about how you can help email [email protected] or visit www.staugustinescentrehalifax.org.uk.