‘Afghan women will not give up their liberties easily’

Afghanistan's first female Olympian says women will not give up their liberties easily
Friba Rezayee in Vancouver, Canada, where she moved in 2011.
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Daily US Times: Friba Rezayee, one of the first two Afghan women to compete at the Olympic Games, says women will not give up their liberties easily under Taliban rules in Afghanistan.

The judoka made history in 2004 by participating at the Olympic Games.

When she competed in Athens Olympics, her father and one of her brothers told her it was as if she had taken the “first step on the moon.”

It was not just a special moment for her, she said, it was a momentous moment for women across Afghanistan. She was now a symbol for a society that was finally changing, although far from perfect.

Women had more opportunities and the future, but years of Taliban rule in the 1990s took away basic human rights from them.

But now the Taliban has returned to power in Afghanistan after twenty years of out of power and Rezayee fears that the progress that has been made for women’s lives over the two decades will be lost.

After taking control of Afghanistan, Taliban leaders have repeatedly expressed their commitment to a “blanket amnesty” for all in Afghanistan, including interpreters and members of the Afghan military, but Rezayee says the future will be bleak for women in the country.

Rezayee, now 33 years old, told CNN: “After they [the Taliban] settle down, they have their government established, they will go after the individuals who spoke against them.”

Rezayee was born and raised in Afghanistan but moved to Canada as a refugee in 2011 and has since set up a non-profit organization, ‘Women Leaders of Tomorrow,’ which advocates for women’s rights in Afghanistan.

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