38-year-old Afghan-Canadian human rights activist Nadima Noor has denounced Western aspersions on the Taliban government in Kabul, saying they liberated her country from colonialists.
The Taliban regime has struggled to establish a favourable reputation among the West since claiming victory in August 2021. However, as Noor stated, this was in stark contrast to the reactions of ordinary Afghans.
“When the Taliban entered Afghanistan, when they took back their homes, their land, when they came back for us and never gave up on our country and our people, I was so happy! I said ‘yes! yes! colonisers out! Bye-bye, go home.’”
No one is going to come to our country and decide how we’re going to dress, how we’re going to eat and how we’re going to look and create a narrative about my people, especially my great men. I feel so bad for all of you men [because] you’re going through so much and now they’re using our women to destroy you. – Nadima Noor, Afghan-Canadian human rights activist.
Noor was speaking on Saturday at this year’s Palestine Walk For Freedom. The event took place in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg. She said she had decided to stay in Afghanistan following the dramatic withdrawal of U.S. troops last year.
“I had calls from relatives and friends [saying] that I have to leave and I made a decision to stay in Afghanistan. I was already in Afghanistan. I arrived in Afghanistan in 2019 from Canada. My home is Afghanistan, and even if it’s not good, I will try to correct it but it’s my problem,” she said.
US President Joe Biden labelled the middle-eastern country a “pariah” and only recently gave an Executive Order to unfreeze $7 billion of Afghanistan’s $9.1 billion in foreign reserves. The delay plunged Afghanistan into deeper economic turmoil.
Neo-colonialism and feminism
The West should not get to dictate the lifestyle that Afghans should live, she said, neither should they use feminism to demonise the Taliban regime.
“No one is going to come to our country and decide how we’re going to dress, how we’re going to eat and how we’re going to look and create a narrative about my people, especially my great men. I feel so bad for all of you men [because] you’re going through so much and now they’re using our women to destroy you,” she said.
Since the Taliban takeover last year, there had been a keen interest in its treatment of women and implementation of Shariah law. Mainstream media houses have repeatedly published stories of women being discriminated against. However, Noor said, this was largely a false narrative.
“I am an Afghan woman. I’m real. I’m living. I have an NGO called Dream Voice Act. When the Talibans came into power, they gave me my logistic and trading Company encouraging me to focus on trade,” she said.
Noor said while there may have been challenges as the Taliban regime grappled with its new role, the Western depiction of Afghanistan was disrespectful to its people.
“No one is perfect – we’re all trying. I understand we have challenges in Afghanistan, but it’s not all bad,” she said. “The way the narrative is put out about Afghanistan is not right. Be respectful to my men, be respectful to my women [and] be respectful to my people.”