The Story Behind An Afghan Journalist’s Cry To NATO: "I Did It Because I Felt Broken"

More than 20 years ago, in early 1999, Lailuma Sadid received several blows to his body. It was clear to him that they came from a group of Taliban. The assault was repeated.

Lailuma had set up a classroom in her house to teach a dozen Afghan girls, but the Taliban had already managed to dominate the Jauzján province, in northern Afghanistan, where she lived.


“We were like prisoners at home. We were not allowed to look out the window. We could not go to the university, or to work, or even to the doctor without the company of a man,” recalls Lailuma from Brussels in an interview with

“While receiving the blows, I wondered what the motive for the crime was. The Islam that I know does not prohibit women from studying but gives equality to men with women.”

Lailuma is a journalist, working in various Afghan media and in the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is currently a member of the Belgian daily Brussels Morning. He resisted until 2013 in his country, until he decided to enter Belgium with an asylum request.

This week the journalist made the news. The Tuesday following the capture of Kabul, during a press conference at a meeting of NATO representatives, he asked that “they do not recognize the Taliban without conditions.”

A question that quickly turned into a plea. “As a woman, I ask you: please do not recognize the Islamic Taliban emirate unconditionally as the agreement the Taliban signed with the Trump administration. Do not put us in the same situation.” He made a similar intervention at the press conference of Josep Borrell, the head of EU diplomacy.

The decision to leave the country was progressive. They were years in which he received many threats, and that began to include his family. “At that moment, I decided to leave the country.”

Before settling in Brussels, he first got to know the place. He worked in the Embassy of Afghanistan in Belgium with the idea of ​​returning to his country. But when he returned, he did not tolerate more than a couple of days. The threats returned and it was then that he finally decided to start a new life in Europe.

For Lailuma, the brutalities against women’s rights are not due to Islam, but to how Islamic law is interpreted.

Despite being Muslim, having read the Koran and believing in Islam, she says that in 2002 she refused to wear a burqa. “It was a way to defend my rights, my freedom and what I wanted. It was not easy but I did it.” A year later she became one of the first female journalists to appear on television without a headscarf.

At the press conference this week, the first thing he thought about before speaking in front of NATO leaders was the blows he had received during the Taliban regime, the women who were killed during that period, and those who were killed by love someone.

“At the press conference I cried for the darkness of a life and for the future of women in Afghanistan. I asked: Why doesn’t the world have its eyes open to the reality of the country? That’s why I did it, because I felt broken , we lost everything we achieved in 20 years, “ explains to him, broken into tears.

Lailuma doesn’t have much hope about what might happen in Afghanistan. “I hope I am wrong, but I see the catastrophe coming to my country. I feel that again we will have a civil war. This is not the end of the story. It is the beginning of a bloody war in the country and a dark chapter in the life of Afghan women. ”



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