“She came to represent not only Afghan women and refugees, but Afghanistan as a country. After 40 years of conflict, the people are still fighting for peace and security, ”he said.
“The Taliban do not want women to be visible”
Now in her 40s, Ms. Gula is the mother of several children and lived in Afghanistan after being deported from Pakistan in 2016. She was deported after being arrested for obtaining false identity documents, a common practice among Afghans in Pakistan.
Ashraf Ghani, the former president, initially gave him a hero’s welcome, including a government-funded apartment. However, fears for his safety began to mount under the Taliban regime.
The Taliban have imposed strict and conservative rules on women since regaining control of the country, with girls banned from going to school or playing sports.
Heather Barr, associate director for women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, told the New York Times that Ms. Gula was particularly at risk because of her fame. “The Taliban do not want women to be visible, and she is an extremely visible Afghan,” said Ms. Barr.