Sonita Alizadeh, now a rapper and activist, fled Afghanistan with her family the last time the Taliban took over more than two decades ago.
Under the previous Taliban rule, women were banned from work and education, and were forced to adhere to a strict dress code and social code.
At a virtual event on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Alizadeh told the international leaders to stand up for women and girls in Afghanistan now that the Taliban had seized power once more.
“Don’t be fooled by the masks the Taliban show on the news,” she said, emphasizing that there was no time to delay action.
The Taliban has said that they will uphold the rights of women and girls in the country as long as it’s in accordance with their strict Sharia law. However, already limitations are being placed on women. This includes telling female government workers to stay home, the fear of female judges for their lives, the segregation of female university students from male, and the invitation to high school boys and not girls to return to schools. Alizadeh also asked for international leaders to guarantee the rights of women and children.
She asked leaders to not recognize the Taliban. Currently, the international community has said they would wait for the Taliban to prove itself before recognizing the government. The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that the Taliban’s desire for international recognition is the only leverage the international community has to push for an inclusive government and society.