Kabul airport women return to work

Monitor Desk Report Date: 13 September, 2021 | 609 Views

Less than a month after the Taliban rolled into the Afghan capital, Rabia Jamal made a tough decision -- she would brave the hardliners and return to work at the airport.

With the Islamists saying women should stay at home for their own security the risks were all too clear, but the 35-year-old mother of three felt she had little choice.

“I need money to support my family,” said Rabia, wearing a navy-blue suit and make-up. 

“I felt tension at home... I felt very bad,” she told . “Now I feel better.”

Of the more than 80 women working at the airport before Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15, just 12 have returned to their jobs.

But they are among very few women in the capital allowed to return to work. The Taliban have told most not to go back until further notice.

Six of the women airport workers were standing at the main entrance on Saturday, chatting and laughing while waiting to scan and search female passengers taking a domestic flight.

Rabia’s sister, 49-year-old Qudsiya Jamal, told AFP the Taliban takeover had “shocked” her.

“I was very afraid,” said the mother of five, who is also her family’s sole provider.

“My family was scared for me -- they told me not to go back -- but I am happy now, relaxed... no problems so far.”

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