By Hossna Samadi

When I learned about the Taliban’s decision to ban women from attending university and read about a medical student who was not allowed to take her last exam, I sat at my desk crying.

Afghanistan is experiencing one of the toughest times of its history. The Taliban’s latest decision to ban women from universities comes after other such misogynistic moves, including banning girls from attending secondary school, preventing women from gyms and public parks, and forbidding women from employment.

I’m deeply concerned for Afghan women who are already facing cold winter temperatures, lack of food, and scarce employment opportunities.

Afghan women are trapped. The Taliban has banned them from traveling without male companions. Some Afghan women do not have male family members due to the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and have lost their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons.

Women’s dreams to reach their potential and fully participate in public life have been shattered. They have no power over their lives.

The Taliban want to erase women from society. They do not want to recognize women as human beings, but rather as a tool or property for men. More than 50 Islamic countries and the most respected Islamic Institutions deem this as un-Islamic.

Under Taliban rule, the continual stripping away of women’s rights devastates all Afghans, those in the country, and the Afghan diaspora across the world.

I feel helpless, sad, and angry. I urge the international community to help.


Hossna Samadi is an Afghan refugee who came to the U.S. in 2016 and was welcomed by IRIS. She is an advocate for Afghan women, co-founder of the Collective for Refugee & Immigrant Women’s Wellbeing (CRIW),  program associate at Sanctuary Kitchen at CitySeed, and Member of  the 2022 Nonprofit Emerging Leaders of Color Cohort of the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven.  

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