Afghanistan: Working women in Kandahar Province subjected to constant threats


Work outside the home in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province has become almost impossible for women due to constant threats and intimidation by insurgents. Convinced she will be killed if she continues to defy the threats, 39-year-old Ranna Tareen, director of Kandahar’s women’s affairs department and a well-known women’s rights activist, has decided to leave Kandahar and run for parliament in Kabul.

She told IRIN about her fears. 

“They [Taliban] are no longer warning me by phone or letter; instead they come to my office and intimidate me in person. They operate with impunity and the government is unable to stop them. 

“Once I called security officials to arrest a man who was threatening me. They arrested him, but only for two hours, after which he called me and said: ‘You work for this government?’ 

“I have told officials about my security concerns and I have even talked to the PRT [NATO-led Provincial Reconstruction Team] about them, but no one cares. 

“I have applied for a transfer to another province but there are no vacancies. 

“I don’t know who is killing us women, and why. I know the Taliban are only part of the problem here. 

“Every time they [the Taliban] paste up a warning note in a girls’ school the number of students drops. This happens frequently but there is no one to stop this. 

“Kandahar has lost a lot of its brave women over the past few years: Sitara Achakzai [provincial council member killed in April 2009], Malalai Kakar [top female police officer killed in September 2008] and Safia Amajan [head of women’s affairs department killed in September 2006]. 

“I see my death too. What annoys me is to see no one cares about it.” 

KANDAHAR, 11 May 2010 (IRIN)