Escape from the Taliban

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What Happens Next?

The Handmaid’s Tale. Brave New World. Mad Max. Fictional dystopias have never seemed so close to becoming reality. Is it too late to change our course 
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“I hope one day, again we will have what we had. Again, our women can raise their voice. Again we could see women leaders, women political leaders, women in universities, in schools, who have the right to dream. Again, we could see and feel the women in Afghanistan, their voice, their knowledge, their skills. And I’m hoping to see, one day again, that Afghanistan is living again.” — Parisa Sekandari

When the Taliban resumed their brutal control over Afghanistan in August 2021, the world was left reeling.

The future of human rights in the country was bleak – especially for women and girls, who suffered under the oppressive regime of the militant political movement in the ’90s. Afghan women and women’s rights advocates suddenly found themselves in a deadly situation, with two dangerous choices before them: To risk remaining in the country under Taliban rule, or to attempt to evacuate and seek refuge far from home.

Monash University students and staff had a strong relationship with a number of Afghan scholars thanks to an ongoing debate series focused on human rights. When Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul fell, a group from the University moved swiftly to remove these students and their families from danger and provide them with a safe place to call home.

Today on ‘What Happens Next?’, you’ll hear the harrowing story from the people involved in this incredible undertaking, including its leaders and organisers, and one of the scholars who fled Afghanistan for Australia.

Today’s guests are Professor Jacqui True, director of the Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre; Professor Sharon Pickering, Monash’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education, and Vice-President; and Parisa Sekandari, one of the evacuees.

A full transcript of this episode is available on Monash Lens.

‘What Happens Next?’ will be back next week with part two of this series, “Where Are Women in Peacebuilding?”.

In the meantime, read one family’s story of escape from the Taliban in the early 1990s, and learn how you can support asylum seekers at Monash University.

If you’re enjoying the show, don’t forget to subscribe and rate or review ‘What Happens Next?’ to help listeners like yourself discover it.

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