I can’t think of a single big mission devised by men that can be labeled as ‘feminist’, something focused on the equality of genders. This includes even the ones that receive praise.

So when one is talking of the Taliban, a militant group that functions on human suffering, it is not very tough to imagine what is in store for women.

There have been multiple reports coming in from Afghanistan which state that women are being held captive and even “sold off” to militants.

In a situation like this, it would be completely understandable if a woman goes and hides. But in sharp contrast, journalists like Hasiba Atakpal are out on the ground, covering the crisis.

This is courageous, but given the context, also unfortunate, because she shouldn’t have to risk her life to do her job. And there shouldn’t be a crisis like this to cover in the first place.

But here we are – and there she is. On the streets, standing in front of the camera as people pass by. No one looks at her for too long, things are too grim, the meaning of being alive has become very literal.

Hasiba works for TOLO News, a media organisation based out of Afghanistan. 

She has been reporting from conflict zones for a while now. To quote a line from an old news report on the website of TOLO News:

Hasiba Atakpal who visited a security forces post on the outskirts of Gardez city in Paktia said there were some soldiers who did not visit their families for five months, and many have remained at their posts rather than going to their homes to celebrate Eid.

The pictures and videos of her are now doing rounds on social media, as people keep Afghanistan and its brave journalists in their hearts.

The Taliban has been very actively engaging with the world since the occupation of Afghanistan, and is trying to spin the narrative into something it is not.

It is not helping women. It is appaling that people would believe otherwise given the information is coming from killers.

More power to Hasiba and every woman in Afghanistan. We wish things didn’t have to be so difficult for them.