Selay Ghaffar is the spokesperson for the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan (Hambastagi), the only Afghan secular party founded in 2004 with a program that focuses on women’s rights, secularization and democracy and opposes the NATO mission. “I chose to fight,” Selay told our correspondent Benedetta Argentieri. His story on newsstands in the first issue of the weekly The Post Internazionale.
When we spent almost a month together in Afghanistan, I was really impressed by the everyday life of Selay Ghaffar. Wake up at unlikely times, car changes, sometimes clothes, never too long in the same place. Moreover, she is never alone, with her always someone armed. Precautions to be taken when doing politics in Kabul and using your voice to denounce the abuses on the Afghan people. Contrary to what one might think, the situation of Ghaffar, 38, has worsened over the past few years and not just in the few months since the United States and the NATO coalition confirmed their withdrawal as of August 31st. “Already at the end of 2018 there was a serious deterioration of internal security, it was a crescendo until today. With the Taliban in power it is impossible to predict, ”he says on the phone.
We met at the end of 2017, I was shooting I am the Revolution, documentary film on women’s resistance, of which Selay was one of the protagonists. It was the first time she’d allowed someone to stay with her for a long time: it was always too risky. Ghaffar is the spokesperson for the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan (Hambastagi), the Afghan Solidarity Party, founded in 2004 with a program that focuses on women’s rights, secularization and democracy and opposes the NATO mission. Hambastagi, the only secular party in Afghanistan, was banned from the public arena in 2012 for accusing some members of the government of war crimes.
After a major campaign of international mobilization, the government has decided to revoke the criminalization of the party which nevertheless chose not to participate in the elections because they were considered corrupt. The face of Selay Ghaffar is known throughout the country, it is a symbol of endurance and courage. Often on television, wearing a simple hijab, he denounces the abuse of civilians and the injustices of the occupation. In the last two years, even the international media have noticed her. Just in August of last year she was named among the 100 most influential women in the world by the newspaper The Republic. This is the first time he has made statements after months of silence.
You saw what happened to Fahim Dashty (spokesman for the National Resistance Front in the Panjshir Valley, ed)? He was killed right after an interview, ”he recalls with a sigh. He chooses his words carefully and avoids exposing himself to the future of the party and the new tactics they will have to use to build a front of resistance against the Taliban. “We are waiting to understand how the regime will behave in the coming weeks to then develop new tactics”. At the moment, all the party’s activities are carried out in hiding. “For several years now, the life of those who fought for Afghanistan has become particularly hard. The new Taliban tactic is based on targeted killings. Instead of killing the soldiers, they started hitting civilians in a systematic way ”. The list is long and in particular women have been targeted, such as Banu Negar, a pregnant policewoman massacred in front of her husband. Or two judges of the Afghan Supreme Court, killed in January with a gunshot to the back of the head. And again, many journalists.
Read on about the new weekly The Post International-TPI, on newsstands from 17 September.