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"To say women support the Taliban is just to invalidate their views," she said.

Fawzia Koofi went on to say that the society in Afghanistan is democratic in nature and that credit goes to the people. "They fought against Soviet occupation and 1.5 million gave their lives."

"We put all our energy into developing laws," she continued, " and drafted a law to prevent violence against women. The law for violence against women wasn't approved, but it created a lot of awareness. People are happy with women leaders. There was a 25 per cent quota for women in parliament but many, like myself, were voted directly."

We are concerned about women journalists in Kabul. The Taliban say they are taking up a 'general amnesty', but that is not true. This is a human disaster
Farida Nekzad, Afghan journalist and activist for women rights and press freedom

Regretting how she had no alternative but to flee Kabul in face of the Taliban takeover, Koofi said, "I never wanted to leave the country, I wanted to remain there to resist, but that became impossible." Fawzia is currently in Doha, Qatar.

Also addressing the webinar, journalist Farida Nekzad, co-founder of the Afghan news agency Pjhwok Afghan News and women rights and press freedom activist, related how painful it was to be forced to flee the country.

"I have travelled to 40 countries since 1997, but never for a minute thought of taking asylum anywhere. I felt I should be beside other women, but in a minute everything was gone. It went to zero. It was in a trauma to leave Afghanistan."

Farida Nekzad is presently in Toronto, Canada. "We are concerned about women journalists in Kabul," she said. "The Taliban say they are taking up a 'general amnesty', but that is not true. This is a human disaster."

Both Fawzia Koofi and Farida Nekzad said that the role of the international community was crucial to address the situation in Afghanistan.

"India should not take up an abandonment stand, but should extend its cooperation to the people of Afghanistan," said Fawzia Koofi, adding, "Unfortunately they are not taking refugees from Afghanistan. We still hope they change their mind and take in refugees."

The webinar was moderated by senior Indian journalist Jyoti Malhotra.

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