'Even in death they reject us': plight of the LGBT+ community in Afghanistan

By and

It has been an economic and humanitarian disaster and human rights have come under sustained assault. A year after the Taliban retook control, Afghanistan continues to founder. For the LGBT+ community, too, the return to power of the Islamic fundamentalists has been a devastating blow. Earlier this year Mediapart's Rachida El Azzouzi and independent journalist Mortaza Behboudi travelled across Afghanistan to report on the situation there. At the time they spoke to 'Najib' – not his real name – to discover the reality of living as a gay man under Taliban rule and they have been in contact with him in recent days. Here is his story.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

“Please, save me from this hell.” That was seven months ago. Snow covered the hills, families were burning furniture and carpets to heat themselves because they could not afford wood, others were in tears after their child starved to death and were begging for bread. Holed up in his bedroom, 26-year-old 'Najib' – not his real name – sent a distress message from his phone. It was the first in a long series of such messages.