The last thing 33-year-old Khatera saw were the three men on a motorcycle who attacked her just after she left her job at a police station in Afghanistan’s central Ghazni province, shooting at her and stabbing her in the eyes with a knife. Waking up in hospital, everything was dark.
Daily Mail (h/t 100%Loco) She and local authorities blame the attack on Taliban militants – who deny involvement – and say the assailants acted on a tip-off from her father who vehemently opposed her working outside the home.
For Khatera, the attack caused not just the loss of her sight but the loss of a dream she had battled to achieve – to have an independent career. She joined the Ghazni police as an officer in its crime branch a few months ago.
‘I wish I had served in police at least a year. If this had happened to me after that, it would have been less painful. It happened too soon … I only got to work and live my dream for three months,’ she told Reuters news agency.
The attack on Khatera is indicative of a growing trend, human rights activists say, of an intense and often violent backlash against women taking jobs, especially in public roles. In Khatera’s case, being a police officer could have also angered the Taliban.
Khatera’s dream as a child was to work outside the home and after years of trying to convince her father, to no avail, she was able to find support from her husband. But her father, she said, did not give up on his opposition.
‘Many times, as I went to duty, I saw my father following me … he started contacting the Taliban in the nearby area and asked them to prevent me from going to my job,’ she said.
She said that he provided the Taliban with a copy of her ID card to prove she worked for police and that he had called her throughout the day she was attacked, asking for her location.
The rights activists believe a mix of Afghanistan’s conservative social norms and an emboldened Taliban gaining influence while the United States withdraws its troops from the country is driving the escalation. (The US can’t babysit the Afghanis forever, you know)
‘Though the situation for Afghan women in public roles has always been perilous, the recent spike in violence across the country has made matters even worse,’ said Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan campaigner.
‘The great strides made on women’s rights in Afghanistan over more than a decade must not become a casualty of any peace deal with the Taliban.’ (But everyone knows it will)