LGBT in Afghanistan: ‘I could be killed on the spot’

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08/19/2021

Before the Taliban uprising in Afghanistan, life for gay man Abdul (his name has been changed) was already dangerous. If he’d spoken about his sexuality to the wrong person then, Abdul could have been arrested and taken to court for his sexuality, under Afghan laws. But since the Taliban seized control of major cities in Afghanistan last week, Abdul tells Radio 1 Newsbeat his sexuality being revealed would now have him “killed on the spot”. The Taliban are a military group who have taken control of the country, and are known to enforce extreme Islamic ideals. Under the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia Law, homosexuality is strictly prohibited and punishable by death. The last time they were in power in Afghanistan, between the late 90s and 2001, 21-year-old Abdul hadn’t been born. “I’ve heard my parents and elders talk about the Taliban,” he says. “We watched some movies. But now, it’s like being inside a movie.” This week, Abdul was supposed to be sitting his final university exams, going for lunch with friends, and visiting his boyfriend, who he met at a swimming pool three years ago. Instead, he is sat in his home for the fourth day in a row. There are Taliban soldiers currently outside his front door. “Even when I see the Taliban from the windows I feel really scared. My body starts shaking from seeing them,” he says. “Civilians are being killed. I don’t think I will ever speak in front of them.” It’s not just the country’s new leaders who cannot find out about Abdul’s sexuality. He says: “As a gay person in Afghanistan, you cannot reveal yourself, even to your family or your friends. “If I reveal myself to my family, maybe they will beat me, maybe they will kill me.” In the space of a week, Abdul feels he has watched his life disappear from in front of him. “There is no future for us,” he says. “I don’t think I will ever continue my education. My friends, I have lost contact with them. I don’t know if they’re okay. “My partner, he is stuck in a different city with his family. I cannot go there, he cannot come here.”

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