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December 9, 2021

Afghan women: Secret diaries of changing lives

When the Taliban swept into Kabul on 15 August the only shots they fired were in celebration. For Afghan women, the salvos represented the loss of all their rights and freedoms. Five of them have been sending the BBC daily diaries, which provide a portrait of their rapidly changing lives.


January 14, 2021

Supermodel Halima Aden: ‘Why I quit’

Halima Aden, the first hijab-wearing supermodel, quit the fashion industry in November saying it was incompatible with her Muslim religion. Here, in an exclusive interview, she tells BBC Global Religion reporter Sodaba Haidare the full story - how she became a model, and how she reached the decision to walk away.


December 8, 2019

Panipat: The Bollywood battle over an 18th Century war

The argument over a war that took place in the 18th Century began in a modern way: with a tweet.

"Death strikes where his shadow falls," wrote Sanjay Dutt, the veteran Bollywood actor who plays the Afghan leader, Ahmad Shah Abdali, in the film Panipat, which opened in cinemas on Friday.

It was supposed to stir up excitement for the film, which was released on Friday. Instead, it came close to instigating an international incident, angering an entire country of once-loyal Bollywood fans.

But what exactly has got Afghans so riled up?


September 13, 2021

Afghan women hit back at Taliban with #DoNotTouchMyClothes campaign

Afghan women have started an online campaign to protest against the Taliban's strict new dress code for female students. Using hashtags like #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanistanCulture, many are sharing pictures of their colourful traditional dresses. The BBC's Sodaba Haidare spoke to the woman who sparked this social media fightback.


August 11, 2020

'Bacha bazi' outrage after pandemic takes play to the small screen

When it comes to theatre and filmmaking in the West, portrayals of Afghanistan often don't go beyond women in blue burqas and men carrying AK-47s.

But in 2017, two Americans attempted something unconventional. Lyricist Charlie Sohne and composer Tim Rosser created a musical about a subject even Afghans would consider too sensitive and unsettling - "bacha bazi" or "boy play"


September 2, 2021

Kabul make-up artist: 'Women like me are Taliban targets'

On the day the Taliban took control of Afghanistan's capital Kabul, advertising posters outside beauty parlours showing women in bridalwear were painted over. Salons around the city were closed down too. While some businesses have vowed to return to full service soon, others fear for their futures. Afsoon (not her real name), a make-up artist in hiding, describes how much the beauty industry has meant to Afghan women.


May 20, 2020

Coronavirus: Afghan girls make ventilators out of car parts

Afghanistan's all-girl robotics team has turned its focus on coronavirus patients - by making affordable ventilators out of car parts.

The teenagers made headlines in 2017 when they won a special award at an international competition in the US.

Now they are racing against time to deliver ventilators by the end of May, at a fraction of the market price.

Afghanistan, reeling from years of war, has a maximum of just 400 ventilators for a population of 38.9 million.


April 1, 2017

The Afghan restaurant run by domestic abuse survivors

Afghanistan has been labelled one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. One study suggested 87% of women in the country experience some form of domestic violence. Sodaba Haidare visited one place in the capital Kabul that offers hope to women escaping abuse.

Aryan's shift in the kitchen has come to an end. She removes her apron and hat. Glimpses of her personality are revealed - she's wearing a colourful tunic over her black jeans, and she he has a mole exactly between her eyebrows - as if someone planted it in the perfect position.


October 5, 2016

Kunduz offensive: Afghan residents 'hide in basements'

The streets of Kunduz have been transformed into battle grounds as Afghan government forces clash with Taliban fighters trying to seize control of the northern city.

But the unexpected speed with which fighting broke out on Monday means there are still hundreds of families trapped inside their homes, unable to do anything but listen to the sound of gunfire and falling bombs.

The BBC spoke to two people trapped just hundreds of metres from the frontline.

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