Sahra Karimi. Kayhan London./

By Kayhan Life Staff

The celebrated Afghan actress and film director Sahra Karimi has called on the international community not to recognize Taliban rule.

Ms. Karimi, who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country on Aug. 15, made the comments during an emotional speech at the European First Ladies Summit in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Aug. 23. The summit was hosted by Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Volodymyrivna Zelenska and attended by the spouses of the presidents of Lithuania, Lebanon, Israel, Germany, Serbia, Costa Rica, and Croatia.

“The Taliban are here to kill us,” Karimi said. “If they are officially recognized, they will execute their plans and destroy our lives.”

“We want to be free,” Karimi added. “Our only sin is to have been born in Afghanistan.”

Later, on her Instagram page, she wrote: “I spoke about the current situation in Afghanistan at the European First Ladies Summit. I urged European presidents and first ladies to stand with Afghan women, children, artists, and filmmakers, and to speak out in one voice and not to remain silent.”

“Europe should not recognize the Taliban readily,” she added. “Being officially recognized will enable the group to oppress Afghan women completely and rob children and artists of a future.”

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Sahra Karimi was born in Tehran in 1983, where she grew up and completed her schooling. Karimi then briefly studied urban engineering at Ahvaz University in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. She received a Ph.D. in filmmaking from the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Before leaving Afghanistan, she was reportedly the only woman in the country to hold such a degree.

Karimi’s documentary Nasimeh (“Light Breeze”), which she made while in film school in Bratislava, won the Best Short Fiction Film Prize at the Sun in a Net Award in Slovakia. The film tells the story of an immigrant girl.

Following Karimi’s speech at the European First Ladies Summit in Kyiv, the famous Afghan singer Farhad Darya urged Taliban leadership to uphold girls’ and women’s civil and human rights.

In an open letter posted on his Facebook account, Mr. Darya addressed Abdul Ghani Baradar, a senior Taliban leader, asing:  “Will we witness the public stoning of our girls and women again?”

“Whether we are happy or oppressed, the battlefield will not be victorious. The real challenge is to win people’s hearts,” Darya said. “The Taliban must clarify their position on the fate of girls, women, artists, security forces, and the people of Afghanistan.”

“People will die in search of answers,” Darya said in his second open letter to Abdul Ghani Baradar. “The lack of information and anxiety resulted from many unanswered questions in the past week have been a knife in people’s throat. You must share your plans with the public as soon as possible.”

“To prevent people from fleeing the country and our youths from falling off the wings of airplanes in mid-fly, you must fulfill all the new promises you have made to the public,” Darya argued. “If, as you say, you have changed, then be mindful that Afghanistan is not the same country it was 20 years ago.”

“Two generations of educated and worldly people with modern values live in the country. The new generation has experienced democracy and understands its rights. Afghan men and women are also politically savvy,” Darya argued. “What will happen to Afghan people’s fundamental rights and individual freedom under your rule?”

“What will happen to the human and civil rights of our mothers and sisters,” Darya asked. “Do you still consider music vulgar and forbidden?”

Writing on his Instagram account, Darya said: “Speak up and do not remain silent. I call on all dear fellow Afghan artists who live in safe corners of the world to speak up and not remain silent. Speak up with no animosity towards anyone and do not spread hatred.”

“A life devoid of art and music is no life at all,” Darya added. “Do not remain quiet because daggers cut peace in silence.”

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Link to the Farsi page

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