Defiant LGBTQ+ activists in Afghanistan recently staged a protest to draw attention to the United States’ failure to offer protection from the Taliban. On Wednesday, around a dozen Afghan people from the Behesht Collective, an LGBTQ+ group, gathered at a private residence in Kabul to show the world that their lives are still in danger. Since the Taliban took power in August 2021, reports have circulated of LGBTQ+ people being beaten, raped, and even murdered in Afghanistan.
Qadamshah, a member of the Behesht Collective who took part in the protest, is now calling on the world to take notice of the dangers faced by the country’s LGBTQ+ community. “This is a regime that doesn’t believe in LGBTQ+ rights, human rights and the rights of women,” Qadamshah said. “We decided to stage this protest because the USA and western countries left us alone here.”
Immediately after the protest, Qadamshah and others involved fled to a neighboring country to protect themselves from the Taliban. The country they are now in is a Muslim country where same-sex sexual relations are criminalized, but as Qadamshah said, it is still better than Afghanistan. “My last message is that the world, the USA and western countries should help LGBT Afghans to flee because they are in a very bad situation here,” Qadamshah added. Nemat Sadat, a gay Afghan working to evacuate LGBTQ+ Afghans, said the private protest was significant because it took place “under the noses of the Taliban.” Unless the US reverses course and takes action, he fears the total annihilation of the LGBTQ+ community in Afghanistan.