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Silence over the Brutal Murder of a School Girl

On Sunday, a tenth grader from Mahmoud Raqi Girls High School in Kapisa Province of Afghanistan named Anisa was shot seven times by a group of men while she was walking home from school. Anisa was also a volunteer for a polio vaccination campaign ran by the Ministry of Public Health.
Anisa was killed for going to school. She was killed for vaccinating children. And she was killed for working outside her home.
Other than a Public Health Deputy Minister who condemned of this brutality, the office of the president, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs have remained silent.
Several civil society organizations have spoken out to demand justice for Anisa and have criticized the governmental authorities for their silence. Yesterday, Wednesday, at a press conference organized by Afghan Women’s Network, activists demanded that more attention should be paid to Anisa’s case so that justice is served. However, over and over the Afghan government has proven that Afghan girls’ education and women’s rights are not a priority unless they are deemed convenient bargaining chips for political agreements. From the endorsement of misogynistic resolutions by the religious Ulema Council that demands that women shouldn’t travel alone, to the imprisonment of 700 young girls for running away from abusive families or getting raped, the government has neglected women’s rights and security. The government has remained silent more often than not when girls’ schools have been burned and female students and teachers have been poisoned or attacked by acid.
Anisa’s murder is one example of the many brutalities against women and girls in Afghanistan. Her murder is not just the women’s rights activists’ business or the governments’ business — but the entire nation’s business. It is time people started speaking out against crimes towards women and standing up for the daughters of this country, whose security and education, can lead to forming a more prosperous land.
Afghan civil society organizations need to focus on creating grassroots support for the cause of justice for Anisa that will lead to public pressure on the government as well as pressure by the usual suspects of women’s organizations. In Pakistan, local women from around the country spoke out against the attack on Malala and there was a national and international mobilization of youth and women for advocacy. The same kind of advocacy needs to happen in Afghanistan if Afghan civil society is looking for long-term methods to pressure the political powers into bringing to justice the criminals who killed Anisa and continue to persecute other Afghan women.

This article first appeared on UN Dispatch:

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Sharontina's picture

Break the silence!

Yes Noorjahan,

your voice has broken the silence now. Let it no more be silent and continue.

Love and peace

Merlin Sharontina

Leina's picture

This is so sad!Dear sister

This is so sad!Dear sister thank you for sharing this story.My heart cries out for a change!

Mauri's picture

The world must know

Thank you, dear sister, for letting us know.

As horrible and saddening news can be, we all *must* know.

Understanding what *really* happens is essential to address changes, and meanwhile is not simple as commercially or politically driven media often present reality in the most profitable way to them - too often trying to not offend allied governments just out of realpolitik.

So hold on, as you're doing with all your courage.

And thank you for having shared this sad, painful story. My deepest blame to the killers and the "authorities" who supported them. But, my most heartly thought for Anisa, young girl whose wonderful world and dreams are not here any more.



Aurore's picture


Thanks for having let us know about it. I shared your article on Facebook - hope it will spread a bit and more people will read it.

I also hope that if Malala will be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace as many of us asked through petitions, it will bring more mainstream media to talk about cases worldwide, including in Afghanistan.

Is there any petition we could sign online today? If not, maybe we should consider creating one on Avaaz or Change? Maybe it could bring Ministers to express over the me it sounds really terrible that even the Minister for Women's Rights does nto say a word about this tragedy!!

Thanks to the Public Health Deputy Minister who spoke out on this, and to you as well for having shared the story with us.

Good luck & all my wishes of safety for the girls who go to school and volunteer for their communities,


irmia's picture

We are with you

Thanks for breaking the silence. Keep on fighting!

We are always with you.


binapatel33's picture

Breaking the silence

Thank you for sharing your story. You are very brave to share your story with us. I agree, women need to come together and stand up against men. I know that your culture and religion is very strict, specifically with women. Is there anyway that you can perhaps create a secret alliance for women and then stand up against the men in society? Is it possible??

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC

Linda M. Ando's picture

Silent no more!

I hear your cry for justice for the countless women and girls who are victimized by the government, society and ignorance. These human rights violations should be condemned by all nations, therefore, governments in violation should be held accountable. As you said, women rights are often used in political deals, women are not commodities.

I know there are no easy solutions and the murder of innocent and courageous public health volunteers are simply unacceptable. Thank you for speaking up and breaking the silence. We stand with you and the Afghan women and girls.

In solidarity,


With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

bewa's picture

Break the silence

Dear Noorjahan, what a powerful posting. This is heartbreaking - this violence against young girls and the silence of those who know better and have the power to speak out. Your mention of the success of courage in speaking out in Pakistan is an inspiration. Thank you for speaking out.

missjenn's picture

Hi Noorjahan

You're a great writer! I really enjoyed reading your article titled, "One Woman's Defiance". It's sad and unfortunate when I come across a story and people (including activists) are selective about who/what to fight for and what to ignore because of traditions.

I've been reading a lot of articles and I've realized that saving face is very important in some cultures and maybe not so much in other cutlures. Batool shows courage and I admire her boldness.

Thanks for sharing!


World Pulse Online Community Management Volunteer

JaniceW's picture

Please keep writing

This feature is beautifully written —and powerful. We need your insights into this endless conflict and how it affects the women and children of Afghanistan.

Your voice is your most powerful instrument. Please continue to use it to share your vision for a brighter day for the women in your country. The world must listen and react to support the Afghani women who face an uncertain future and live in constant fear.

Your strength of heart is inspiring. Let us know what we can do to support you in your fight to speak out for those without a voice. Stay safe. In peace,

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