Last month, Kunduz was the first city to be seized in Afghanistan by the Taliban since 2001, and the city is still reeling from the consequences of the Islamist group’s brief governance. Among the casualties is Radio Roshani, a radio station backed by U.S. and Western funding that produced programming with a focus on women’s rights. One such program featured a religious cleric who gave advice to women confronting problems within Afghanistan’s conservative tribal society. The cleric’s progressive views were silenced a few months ago after a bomb attached to his car exploded, killing him instantly. After the Taliban took the city, the radio station’s employees, including nine female journalists, were forced into hiding. The station’s director, Sediqa Sherzai, says she received a phone call from a man claiming to be from the insurgency only hours after the Taliban took the radio station. Sherzai donned a burqa, grabbed her baby girl and fled to Kabul. She has since returned, but the Taliban left the station ransacked, without a transmitter, mixer, computers, or even microphones. Nonetheless, Sherzai hopes to revive the station as soon as she can. “If we stop broadcasting,” she says, “what kind of message does this send to other women?”
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