COLOGNE: Afghan sisters Tamana and Zarmina Paryani admit that they harbour little illusion about what their 12-day-long hunger strike in western Germany could bring against the Taliban government, but for them, staying silent is not an option.

“I think what we would have achieved from this protest is not staying silent against the crimes of this group,” Tamana said.

Tamana, 25, had been among women who had taken part in protests in Afghanistan before being rounded up in a series of night raids on January 19, 2022.

Footage of her ordeal shortly before being taken had circulated on social media, showing her in distress, warning of the Taliban authorities at her door.

Tamana believes that the video brought awareness to her plight.

Following their release from prison, she and her three sisters decided to flee, arriving in Germany in October 2022.

Even though they are now hundreds of miles away from harm’s way, the sisters are determined to keep raising their voices against the Taliban.

From a small tent at the small square in the centre of Cologne, the sisters began their hunger strike, due to end on Tuesday, to raise awareness about “gender apartheid” in Afghanistan.

Even if Germany and other Western governments have condemned the Taliban for discriminating against women, the sisters believe they needed to continue their protest for concrete change.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2023

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