In the past month, Naheed Esar has spent her days settling into a new life as a doctoral student in the leafy college town of Fayetteville, Arkansas. At night, when her family in Afghanistan is just waking up, she calls them. “We try to calm one another,” she says. “But it starts with: Are you alive? Where is this person, where is that person?” She doesn’t get much sleep.
For 20 years, women in Afghanistan have gone to school, pursued careers, and fought to achieve a social standing equal to men. They’ve become artists, activists, and actors. Now, Esar and millions of women are grappling with the sudden Taliban takeover of their country. Thousands of women are fleeing or in hiding