Afghan Women Rising

   The condition of women and girls in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August of 2021 has gone from bad to worse.  Women are not allowed to attend universities, most secondary schools, and are forbidden from serving in the government.  In several areas they are discouraged from leaving home at all.

  Meanwhile, Taliban officials, who write and enforce these restrictions, have been legitimizing themselves by purchasing blue checkmarks for their Twitter accounts.  According to Abdirahim Saeed of BBC News:

"The Taliban have started using Twitter's paid-for verification feature, meaning some now have blue ticks on their accounts.

Previously, the blue tick indicated "active, notable, and authentic accounts of public interest" verified by Twitter, and could not be purchased.

But now, users can buy them through the new Twitter Blue service.

At least two Taliban officials and four prominent supporters in Afghanistan are currently using the checkmarks."

  Afghan Women Rising seeks to counter this movement by the Taliban by purchasing blue checks in the names of accomplished women both inside and outside of Afghanistan.

  A popular pastime in Afghanistan is the 'Sher Jangi', or 'Poetry Battle'.  One person writes  a verse, and the opponent, or second player, must respond by writing a poem which begins with the last letter of the first verse.

  We are in the midst of an online 'Sher Jangi'.  We use ChatGPT to write a traditional Afghan verse about the virtues of Afghan women.  Then we have the program translate it into Pashto, Farsi, and Uzbek.

Here is  our first submission, from Fatima H.  from Herat:

"Women, strong as mountains,

Enduring through trials and tribulations,

Their courage never falters,

Their spirit never breaks,

They raise families and build nations,

Their strength is the backbone of our society" 

The same verse in Pashto (the language of most Taliban):

"Zanana, pa de pukhto pa tawagawal,

Pa zama ghara da tawonka da taswira,

Da darwaza kawom da kam da kam,

Da ruh kawom da kam da kam,

Da zama ghara da khwendo khwendagal,

Da tawagawal da zama ghara da asase" 

in Farsi:

"زنان، قوی مثل کوه‌ها،

در برابر آزمایشات و دشواری‌ها، صبر می‌کنند،

شجاعتشان هیجانی نمی‌شود،

جانشان هیچگاه قطع نمی‌شود،

آن‌ها خانواده را تحت پوشش می‌گذارند و ملت‌ها را بنا می‌کنند،

قدرتشان پایه اجتماع ما است." 

in Uzbek:

"A'zolari, tog'lar kabi qattiq,

Imtihonlar va muammolarga sabr qiladi,

Yaqinlari hech qachon yo'qolmaydi,

Ruhlari hech qachon qattiq emas,

Ularning oilasini quradi va millatlarini yarata boshlaydi,

Ularning qattiqligi bizning jamoatimizning asosidir." 

We are offering prizes for the best verses, and everyone who submits one will be recognized on our website. Email

  Afghan Women Rising was created by J.A. Toomey, S.Gunawan and A. Mohammadi.