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Fawzia Koofi survived two assassination plots to lead an ’unstoppable generation’ of Afghan women

Monday 28 September 2020, by siawi3

Source: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/fawzia-koofi-survived-two-assassination-plots-to-lead-an-unstoppable-generation-of-afghan-women?cid=sbsnews:edm:newspm:relation:news:na:na

Middle East
Fawzia Koofi survived two assassination plots to lead an ’unstoppable generation’ of Afghan women

Photo: Afghan women’s rights campaigner Fawzia Koofi Source: Twitter

Photo: Afghan women were once prohibited from working, studying, or even leaving the house on their own under the Taliban.

Updated 21/09/2020

By Rashida Yosufzai

Still brandishing the wounds from a recent assassination attempt, Fawzia Koofi went to make peace with the people who once tried to kill her.

With her arm in a sling where a bullet had been removed just weeks ago, the politician and women’s rights activist recently met members of the Taliban for the first direct talks between the militant group and the Afghan government in Doha, Qatar.

Ms Koofi is one of four women representing the government in the historic talks aimed at ending decades of bloodshed in war-torn Afghanistan. The talks began on 12 September.
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“It’s always not easy to talk with somebody who has so many political differences with you to the extent that they try to kill you,” Ms Koofi told SBS News from Doha.

“It has never been easy for me because the moment I sit with the Taliban, all the memories that I have lived in Afghanistan crosses my mind.”

Those memories would be impossible to forget. Ms Koofi dreamed of becoming a doctor when the Taliban came to power in 1996 and decreed all girls would be banned from studying.

Photo: Fawzia Koofi (left) and her fellow peace negotiators. Ms Koofi is among four women from the government in the peace talks with the Taliban.
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The Taliban arrested her husband days after their wedding and he died years later from tuberculosis contracted during his time in prison.

The militant group then tried to kill her in a failed drive-by shooting when she was a member of parliament in 2010. Her daughter, then 10 years old, was also in the car.

Ms Koofi, 45, was the target of another assassination attempt just weeks ago.

She was on 14 August attacked in the backseat of her moving car by unknown gunmen, leaving her hospitalised and having a bullet removed from her right arm.

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The Taliban have denied involvement in the August attack. Whoever was responsible, Ms Koofi said there was no doubt about the motive.

“This was definitely linked to the peace process and my efforts in this, because there were probably people who did not want the process to take off,” she said.

As she confronts the Taliban at the US-brokered peace talks, she wants her injury to symbolise the strength of Afghan women in the face of decades of oppression and adversity.

“The women of Afghanistan have suffered, but they’re so resilient that they will not be stopped,” she said.

“They’re an unstoppable generation of Afghanistan.”