Gay Afghan wounded in Taliban stabbing feels ‘alone’ during LGBT+ History Month

Sara, 23, said the attack has left them with 18 wounds across their body.

27 February 2022

A gay, non-binary Afghan has told of how they were left “injured and alone” after suffering severe injuries in a knife attack by the Taliban, as thousands in the queer community continue to face persecution “in a society that has turned against them”.

Sara, who did not want their last name included, was left with 18 wounds after the attack in Kabul, including gashes along their legs, stomach, and back.

Having been rescued and relocated away from the capital, they told the PA news agency they feel “hopeless” after finding their life in the hands of the Taliban last week.

The 23-year-old said: “(The attackers) said, ‘Shame on you, it is our time to finish people like you.’

“I wanted to escape but, unfortunately, I couldn’t. I lay down, then lost consciousness… when I opened my eyes I was in hospital.

“They didn’t take my things because they were not thieves, they were the Taliban.”

Sara added they have not celebrated LGBT+ History Month, which takes place across the entire month of February, due to their injuries.

“I’m not celebrating this month, I’m injured,” they said.

“They wanted to kill me… I thought they wanted to get my cell phone and money but they refused to take it.

“I’m really hopeless.”

Sara was rescued thanks to the help of Nemat Sadat, a gay Afghan-American activist who has aided in the escape of more than 200 LGBTQ+ Afghans.

Mr Sadat, 42, is from San Diego, California and said he was “surprised” Sara is alive.

“Sara told me they lost a lot of blood,” the author said.

“They have now been rescued… I’m paying for their hostel stay, I’m paying for their food, for everything.”

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
Nemat Sadat said he was ‘surprised’ Sara was still alive after an attack left them with 18 knife wounds (Nemat Sadat/PA)

Mr Sadat said he believes people like Sara would have celebrated LGBT+ History Month in Afghanistan had the Taliban not risen to power.

“It would definitely have been celebrated,” he said.

“Before the Taliban came to power, you had so many people that were transgender and non-binary. They were working as contemporary wedding dancers – not just in private homes but also in huge wedding halls in Kabul.

“They were working as celebrity make-up artists on Afghan television; people had fashion shows, concerts – it was so visible.”

But Mr Sadat maintained the month will look different this year – as it has “not been celebrated at all” when many live in a “society that has turned against them”.

“There’s ISIS and the Taliban, and society has turned against them… they’re dying, and they’re still trying to live their truth,” he said.

“I think LGBT History Month (would be) so empowering for LGBT people right now in Afghanistan because they feel that they’re so defeated, they can’t do anything because even their allies have abandoned them and turned their back.

“(But) it hasn’t been celebrated at all.”

Mr Sadat has raised $21,080 (£15,760) via GoFundMe to evacuate LGBTQ+ Afghans, contributing $8,000 (£5,990) of his own savings.

He described how he has been working as a “one-man army” for the past six months and has now launched a new organisation to evacuate LGBTQ+ Afghans, called Roshaniya, which is what he was able to help Sara through.

Roshaniya’s official Twitter account took to the platform to share photos of Sara’s injuries, which featured invasive stitches across their legs and showed a stab wound on their lower back.

Mr Sadat hopes the organisational structure will allow him to delegate responsibility, as well as help his team secure grants and funding for evacuation, relocation, and resettlement for people like Sara.

“Our primary purpose is really to help with the relocation and resettlement of LGBT people from African origin and nationality,” he added.

“What I’m really doing is trying to directly empower the LGBT community, guiding them and telling them this is what we think is best, but really getting them to fund their evacuation.

“We have to keep the drum beats rolling.”

To donate to Mr Sedat’s GoFundMe and aid in the evacuation of LGBTQ+ Afghans, go to: www.gofundme.com/f/help-lgbtq-afghan-refugees-rebuild-their-lives

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