Although homosexuality has always been illegal in Afghanistan, members of the LGBTQ community still felt a sense of peace. However, things have drastically changed since the Taliban seized control of Kabul on August 15.
Gay and bisexual men fear for their lives, with some saying the terrorist organization will execute them all right on the spot.
Taliban will 'weed out and exterminate' LGBT+ people in Afghanistan, warns exiled gay author https://t.co/K51wOBYOQD
— PinkNews (@PinkNews) August 23, 2021
“I just hope that somebody comes and wake me up from this bad dream,” a 37-year-old gay Afghan tearfully told Insider.
The man, going by the name Rameen, works for the United Nations and once enjoyed Afghanistan’s vibrant “underground” gay scene. He would go to a karaoke bar in Kabul and hang out and dance with other members of the country’s hidden LGBTQ community.
“It was fantastic and so much fun,” he recalls.
Now, Rameen lives in constant fear and is too afraid to meet up with his boyfriend of three years.
“If the Taliban finds out about us, they’ll sentence us to death,” Rameen says. “I think we will have to stop our relationship.”
Like Rameen, a 21-year-old student going by the name Ghulam also fears that he will never see his partner again. He has not left his home since the Taliban took over for fears of being identified as gay and being put to death.
“If we get caught, the Taliban will kill us,” he told Insider. “We cannot go out because we are just scared for our lives.”
Several gay Afghans told Insider how they live in fear of their life after the Taliban's victory.
— Insider International (@InsiderIntl) August 21, 2021
Ghulam also dropped out of his university studies, saying he see “no future” in Afghanistan.
According to German newspaper Blid, one of their reporters spoke to a Taliban judge who says the radical Islamist group vowed to sentence gay men to death by stoning or by being crushed by a nine-foot wall. The group is known for its extremist view on Sharia Law, which would make homosexuality punishable by death.
Queer men are telling multiple media outlets they hope to find a way to escape the Taliban’s new rule and seek asylum. While homosexuality was still punishable by death, the penalty has not been applied since the end of the Taliban’s first regime in 2001.
In the 1990s, gay men were sentenced to death in Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, and elsewhere in the country.
Nemat Sadat, the first public figure in Afghanistan to promote LGBTQ rights, told Insider that he is helping gay Afghans apply for asylum and leave the country. Sadat was an organizer of a LGBTQ rights movement in Afghanistan while working as a political science professor at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. However, he fled to the U.S. after receiving death threats.
Canada plans to resettle more than 20,000 Afghans, prioritizing minorities, including female activists and individuals from LGBTQ communities.
However, the U.S. is predicted to take in fewer than 10,000 refugees this year, the lowest number since 1975. Dozens of state governors have urged President Biden to take in more. Critics say the application process is bureaucratic and badly backlogged.