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On August 15, 2023, the New Middle East Podcast, hosted by Turkish-born journalist Abdussamed Dagül, who is based in Idlib, Syria, announced a "special episode" in which Dagül interviewed Farah Mogahid, a woman currently living in Kabul, Afghanistan. The interview was aired in honor of the second anniversary of the "Taliban's victory in Afghanistan," which occurred on August 15, 2021. In the episode, Dagül discusses with Mogahid "the developments in Afghanistan since America's surrender, the role of women in Afghan society under the Taliban," and other topics.
Both Dagül and Mogahid spent time in the West before choosing to live under jihadi rule. The Turkish-born journalist lived in Germany until coming to Syria ten years ago, where he currently lives under and supports Syrian jihadi group Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS). "Researcher and human rights activist" Mogahid, who supports the Taliban on Twitter, was raised in Europe and moved to Afghanistan following its takeover by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Afghan Taliban).
A 41-minute video of the interview, which was held in English, was uploaded to YouTube on August 17, where it has since received 294 views.
Taliban Rule Has Brought Afghanistan Freedom And Security From NATO 'Invaders'
At the beginning of the video, Dagül states that he and Mogahid will discuss "controversial topics," such as the Taliban's ban on women's education, the situation in Afghanistan since the Taliban's takeover of the country, and women's involvement in Afghan society under Taliban rule.
Mogahid, wearing a black veil which shows only her eyes, declares that the Afghan nation feels "very proud that Afghanistan is […] a free country, an independent country." Accusing NATO "invaders" of having "destroyed the minds of our people," using the "mother of bombs" in Afghanistan, and seeking to "enslave the Afghan nation," she expresses joy over their withdrawal: "Today we are celebrating the second […] anniversary of the conquest and the freedom in Afghanistan. Today our nations are free. […] The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is our government." She credits the Taliban government with bringing peace, stability, and happiness to the Afghan people.
Claiming that under the twenty-year rule of the U.S.-backed Afghan government, the economy "was all fake," with no proper hospitals or factories in the country, Mogahid insists that Taliban leaders are now "doing everything in their power to serve the people with the law of shari'a" and "build a true solid life for the Afghan people." She further claims that security now prevails across Afghanistan, with roads being built and services provided to citizens, and credits the cessation of war "to Almighty Allah and to the sacrifices of our mujahideen," as well as the Taliban's "noble diplomacy."
Alleged Taliban Ban On Women's Education Is "Western Propaganda," International Community Is At Economic War With Taliban After Military War Failed
In the interview, Dagül states that "Western propaganda is being pushed" that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has led to the oppression of Afghan women and their being banned from education. He asserts that Afghans are still "not free from the Western evil," even after the departure of U.S. forces, since they continue to be harmed by such propaganda and since the U.S. has frozen millions of dollars of assets belonging to the central bank of Afghanistan. Concurring with Dagül that the West tries to "brainwash the people," Mogahid describes herself as "a proud Afghan woman" who grew up in the West but moved to Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover to live "under the white flag of freedom, the flag of Muhammad."
Mogahid asserts that she would not have wanted to live in Afghanistan before the Taliban came to power, as women were not respected then. Rejecting claims of a ban on women's education, she insists that the Taliban government is run by Islamic scholars, who are "never against education." Mogahid counterclaims that they are working to establish an educational system under which women can return to universities and schools, adding that she has met with Taliban government ministers to discuss the issue. She declares that a solution must soon be found for the issue and that "universities, schools, colleges should be opened [for women] as soon as possible."
In Mogahid's view, after decades of war against Afghanistan, the international community has launched an "economic war" which is "torturing the Afghan nation." She declares that the central bank's assets belong to the Afghan nation and must be returned so that Afghans can "breathe in peace" and "develop our country." She calls on the international community to engage in dialogue with the Taliban government, since "force does not work with the Afghan people."
Taliban Government Is Working To Restore Education For Women, There Are Female Professionals In Afghanistan But Their Number Must Increase
In the interview, Dagül compares the Taliban's resistance to allow women access to education to the challenges facing the HTS-linked "government of the Muslims" in Syria, asserting that the Syrian educational system has been "more or less supported by the West […] it teaches stuff like feminism and all this Western nonsense" which can "destabilize a sound and healthy society, let alone an Islamic society." He asks whether the Taliban has developed a plan to return women and girls to school.
Mogahid responds that they are working on a "solid system" which will allow "our female society in Afghanistan to attend schools, colleges, universities, and workplaces," and is hopeful that "soon we will hear some good news." Declaring that the sooner women's education is restored, the better, she justifies the Taliban's not fulfilling its promises in this regard, saying: "If we plant a flower or a tree, it takes time for it to grow." She predicts: "One day we will be sitting here and we will be discussing how wonderfully the system of education in Afghanistan for the female society will [have] develop[ed]."
Mogahid further notes that girls' madrassas are open under the Taliban government, since '"they have a proper system that sisters do attend." She further states that there are Afghan women who work as doctors in hospitals, teachers, workers in offices, in airports, in the security forces, and other areas, but "we need more involvement of our sisters in our society." Calling women "the backbone of our society," she declares: "We want rights […] we want participation in various fields according to the shari'a law," adding: "I hope we see some solid results ASAP."
Asserting that Afghanistan needs both women with an Islamic education and those with knowledge of secular sciences, Mogahid affirms the need for women to be trained as doctors, nurses, midwives, and teachers, insisting that the Taliban leaders understand this as well. Adding that many Afghan women work for the Taliban government or are involved in business and commerce, she claims that the mainstream media ignores this fact in order to propagandize against the Taliban. Dagül claims that Western propaganda tries to turn "Western-supported" people in Afghanistan against the Taliban.
Taliban-Ruled Afghanistan Is The Only Free Country, Other Muslim Countries Would Support The Taliban If They Were Really Free
Mogahid declares that "as a Muslim Afghan woman," she supports the Taliban for bringing peace and stability to the country and ending the U.S. invasion: "They made us a free nation [...] Afghanistan is the only country in the world which has freedom." She adds that other ostensibly independent Muslim countries are free in name only, claiming that if they were really free they would support the Taliban. Insinuating that they are subject to U.S. domination, she says these states cannot voice support for the Taliban because they "have to look for […] what their master has to say. And who is their master? You know and I know it too."
We Must Teach Our Children About The Mujahideen Who Sacrificed Their Lives For Shari'a, Lay A "Solid Islamic Groundwork" For Them So The West Cannot "Enslave" Them
Dagül then asks Mogahid to explain why she left her life of comfort in Europe to come to Afghanistan, expressing understanding for her decision, as he left Germany ten years ago to travel to Syria. When he notes that life in Afghanistan is precarious since it is not clear if the Taliban will "establish itself" or if there will be "may Allah forbid, another invasion," Mogahid cuts him off: "Don't say that. Let's not even mention that."
Explaining her choice to live under Taliban rule, she describes Afghanistan as "the only independent peace lover [...] the only free country in the world," declaring that she "would rather live nowhere else."
Every mother, she continues, should teach her children how "the warriors of Islam put their lives on the line and how our sisters sacrificed their children" to create "a free Afghanistan." She adds: "I am so grateful to Allah […] and I am so grateful to the mujahideen and their sacrifices […] to the mothers who sent pieces of their hearts to the battleground just for the sake of Allah, just to implement the law of Allah in the land of Allah."
Saying that there is "a war of haqq 'ala batel [truth against falsehood]" against "the shaytani [satanic] forces," Mogahid sends a message to her fellow Muslim women: "If we put a solid […] Islamic groundwork […] for our children, no Western countries can come and enslave our children […] and try to […] manipulate them somehow."
She declares that August 15 is not just a day for celebration but a day on which Muslims must teach children in schools and at home how Afghanistan "achieved freedom" through "jihad fi sabil Allah [jihad for the sake of Allah]." Stating that the Taliban fought to implement the law of Allah, she says: "That is what I am fighting for […] Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is haqq [truth]. […] They are the true sons of Afghanistan."
The Taliban Will Never Cave To Pressure Or Allow Another Invasion, The International Community Should Recognize The Taliban Government, Which Is The Hope Of All Muslims
Mogahid further claims that if the Taliban allows women to get an education, the West will find another pretext to pressure them. However, she declares: "Our government will never put their head down for nobody [sic] but Allah […] I don’t care if the Americans will come with bombs, […] they don't have the guts to come anymore. And we will not allow no one [sic] to come inside our country and try to find ways to disturb our peace."
She adds that "the international community should recognize the government" currently controlling Afghanistan and remove the travel ban from Taliban officials, since "they are the sons of this country."
Mogahid denies claims that "the Taliban does not sit with women," and insists that "if a sister has something to say and something that's reasonable to say, the doors are open." Rejecting the international community's stated support for human rights as hypocritical, she alleges various abuses during the U.S. presence in Afghanistan: "They took our women for their own enjoyment. They took kids and they made cages for the kids to use them sexually for their own pleasure."
Calling August 15 a "day of pride" and a "historical day in the history of the Islamic ummah [nation]," Mogahid asks Allah to bless the Taliban government and give the ummah "unity and togetherness, so we all can have one voice and stand together."
Asserting that everyone in Afghanistan is happy on the anniversary of the Taliban's rise to power, she insists that "if the West would leave us alone and stop this economic war, Afghanistan will develop, will flourish." Mogahid denies that she has been appointed to "lobby for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," declaring that "every Muslim should support the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan because this is the hope for the Muslim ummah."
Taliban officials have denied imposing a permanent ban on women's education, and in official statements and publications, the group insists that it treats women well.
 Telegram, August 15, 2023.
 See MEMRI JTTM Reports: As Syrian Rebels Lose Territory, Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) Leader Al-Joulani Provides Interviews Defending Turkish Presence In Idlib, Responding To Criticism By Rival Rebel Factions, February 20, 2020; and In Interview, London-Based Pro-Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) Cleric Praises 'Pragmatic' HTS For Maintaining People's Support And Negotiating With Local Actors, Claims Salafi-Jihadi Groups Elsewhere Must Follow The Example, Abandon Ideology, Or Else Will Fail, February 7, 2023.
 Youtube, August 17, 2023.
 See MEMRI JTTM Reports: Minister Of Minerals And Petroleum Of Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan: Taliban Have Attained "Tremendous Achievements;" Soon The World Will Recognize The Islamic Emirate; Women's Rights Will Be Enshrined In Law "In Accordance With The Laws Of Islam", April 28, 2022; In Eid Al-Adha Message, Afghan Taliban Emir Mullah Hibbatullah Akhundzada Slams Israel's 'Brutal Act' Against Palestinians, Urges World Not To Interfere In Afghanistan's Internal Affairs, 'Just As We Do Not Interfere In The Internal Affairs Of Other Countries', June 27, 2023; and Afghan Taliban Arabic-Language Magazine Paints Rosy Picture Of Afghanistan's Security, Economy, Diplomacy Under Its Islamic Rule, Blames U.S. For Spreading 'Hippie Opium Culture', Dismisses UN Reports As 'Lies', July 7, 2023.
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