At 32 years old, Dr. K is old enough to remember the first time the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 1995.
She was 7 when girls were banned from school. “For years, my mother ensured that we continued our studies in secret classes conducted by women teachers in their homes,” she says.
Inspired by her mother, who worked as a gynecologist, she enrolled to study medicine after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. By 2016, she had become a surgical resident at the country’s only burn center, in the western province of Herat.
In her five years of practice, Dr. K has treated hundreds of women whose husbands set them on fire or thrown acid on them – as well as women suffering from domestic violence who chose to end their lives to escape the abuse, often opting for self-immolation.
Now she says her life is in danger because of her work.
With the Taliban back in power, Dr. K asked that she be identified only by the initial of her last name. She reports that she has been threatened by Taliban commanders acting on the wishes of an ex-husband of one of her jailed patients, now released, as well as men who blame her for their incarceration and divorce.
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