In the Taliban zone: Nilofar’s journey | Radio Bilbao


Nilofar Bayat was born in Afghanistan 28 years ago, in a decade of the 90s that was one of constant advancement for the Taliban. In 1996, his forces seized control of the capital, Kabul, and formed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Exactly the same as they are trying to do now, in 2021.

Nilofar lived through the first Taliban regime as a child. In 1992, when she was just two years old, the same missile that killed her brother damaged her spinal cord and caused the loss of a leg. He grew up in a country hostile towards women. It is forbidden to study, work, travel, criticize, go out alone … It is forbidden to be free.

The arrival of freedom

With the turn of the century, Afghanistan took a radical turn. The eviction of the Taliban from power by Western forces, led by the United States, ushered in a new era. Women regained their rights. Nilofar grew up and went to university, studied law. She worked for years for gender equality. She discovered wheelchair basketball and went on to become the captain of the Afghan national team.

2021: terror returns

But this summer everything fell apart again. The Taliban launched a swift offensive that brought them back to power in Kabul. Nilofar then decided to launch an SOS: he needed to leave the country in any way. Together with her husband, she embarked on a journey fraught with difficulties. Thanks to the collaboration of many people, a few days later he landed in Madrid. From there to Bilbao, where she has started a new life with her husband, Ramesh, and thanks to the Bidaideak wheelchair basketball team.

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Objective: wake up the world

However, Nilofar neither can nor wants to forget his past. It is clear that his life passes through the Basque Country, but his family still remains trapped in Afghanistan. That is why its objective will continue to be to work so that the international community does not forget the rest of the people who have not been able to leave their country and fear, every day, what awaits them under Taliban rule.

Nilofar Hayat, during the interview with Cadena SER. / SER string

The links of the chain

Many people have contributed to the success of Nilofar Bayat. Some of the most prominent are the journalists Antonio Pampliega and Paloma del Río and Txema Alonso, president of the adapted sports club Bidaideak.

Antonio Pampliega is a war correspondent who was kidnapped in Syria by Al Qaeda for ten months. Pampliega is a friend of Nilofar and one of the essential people in the athlete’s escape from Afghanistan. She has just published her novel “Flowers for Ariana”, in which she recounts the hell in which women live under the Taliban regime.

“Afghanistan is the worst country in the world to have been born a woman. I, who have been there many times, fully understand their message of help. The moment Afghanistan stops importing to the world, the Taliban will go back to being those of 1996. Those who prohibited women’s laughter because it excited men, who did not let them address men if they did not do so before, those who amputated the phalanges of their fingers if they had painted nails. “

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River dove He is a journalist, he has worked at RTVE for more than three decades. It is the voice of gymnastics, as well as other sports. He has covered a multitude of Olympic events; his profession has allowed him to travel all over the world. He has known communist Russia, the suburbs of Brazil … He assures that he had never encountered anything like it.

“Something so terrible, never. This leaves the sports world. I put myself in the situation of having my daughter, my sister or my cousin locked up at home all day, mutilated, unable to leave, threatened with death … A month ago they beheaded the captain of the junior volleyball team! I can’t sit still. “

Txema Alonso He is the president of the Bidaideak Club, a Bilbao wheelchair basketball team. He is the current champion of the BSR League. Txema picked up the glove when reading Antonio’s message: “We didn’t doubt it. We couldn’t look the other way. There was a girl, the captain of the Afghan team, who asked for help. We are an association that works with people with disabilities. We couldn’t. do something other than offer him a new home, “he says.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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