Gay Afghan Says the Taliban Burned Him, Lives ‘Like a Prisoner’ Now

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10/22/21

A gay man from Afghanistan said he was burned by the Taliban. He now lives in hiding out of concern for his safety and said he’s been surprised at the lack of support for LGBTQ+ Afghans by the international LGBTQ+ community. The man, Sohil, told PinkNews that he’s been “living in the shadows” since the Taliban took control over the country in August. “Imagine you have all the great hopes for your life, you have everything, and then one day you wake up and everything is gone,” he said. “I lost my university, I lost my life, I lost my community. Even the boys I was in contact with, they are all living in the shadows. They are all hiding themselves.” Sohil said the Taliban took away his normal life. He was in medical school and had hoped to be able to leave Afghanistan. He told the website that he had to flee his home due to his human rights activism. “I live like a prisoner. I was living in my own house with my family. After the Taliban attacked me, I couldn’t live in my house because they would recognize my face and they knew who I am,” Sohil explained. “Now I am living in a different home. My family doesn’t know about my sexuality. If I tell them I will lose their support too.” Sohil is only one of the many LGBTQ+ Afghans who have voiced their fears of the Taliban’s return. Queer people in the country have told media they hope to find a way to escape the Taliban’s new rule. While homosexuality was still punishable by death in the years since the Taliban fell, the punishment hadn’t been applied since 2001. During the Taliban’s rule in the 1990s, gay men were sentenced to death in Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, and elsewhere in the country. There has already been reporting of gay men being killed by the Taliban over their sexual orientation.

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