Blog · January 30, 2022

Afghan Saffron Boss Says Taliban Will Not Silence Her

Cannot be Ignored

In the 20 years between the US-led ouster of the Taliban in 2001 and the Islamists’ return, many women became business leaders, particularly in cities like Herat.

Long a key commercial hub near Iran and Turkmenistan’s borders, the city has in recent months suffered from the flight of many businesswomen.

Younes Qazizadeh, head of the city’s chamber of commerce, told AFP that he hoped the Taliban would make an official announcement to indicate that “women could come back and do business under this government as well”.

For now, the fate of businesses like Attai’s hangs on a thread.

“It is our hope to start women’s businesses again in our country,” Qazizadeh added.

Attai said that for now, she is staying in her homeland because she has “some hope” that her business can survive.

Ahead of the US pullout, a mammoth airlift saw 124,000 people evacuated from Kabul airport.

“I could have left as well. But I didn’t leave because all the hard work and effort that we put in should not be ignored,” Attai said.
“I don’t think they will block our work,” she added, referring to the Taliban.

“We are a company which is completely run by women and employs women — not a single man is brave enough to stop that. A woman who has shovelled her fields day and night cannot be ignored.”