I met translators for European forces, NATO, USA and UK troops relied on their skills, but left them vulnerable. Anyone helping troops was an enemy of the Taliban.
I met the brothers of those killed by the Taliban, in the opposition army or because they refused to join the extremists.
I met human rights campaigners who want the rights for women to be equal, who want education for everyone and an end to corruption.
And it is the women who will be most affected.
"Born April 1988, is the first female graffiti artist of Afghanistan. Through her artworks, Shamsia portrays Afghan women in a male dominant society.
Her art gives Afghan women a different face, a face with power, ambitions, and willingness to achieve goals. The woman character used in her artworks portrays a human being who is proud, loud, and can bring positive changes to people’s lives. During the last decade of post-war era in Afghanistan, Shamsia’s works have brought in a huge wave of color and appreciation to all the women in the country.
Her artworks have inspired thousands of women around the world and has given a new hope to female Afghan artists in the country. She has motivated hundreds of Afghans to bring in their creativity through her graffiti festival, art classes, and exhibitions in different countries around the world."
And just to be clear. This isn’t about religion. Islam does not teach the oppression of women. Many Muslim people - men and women - support and campaign for equality and freedom.
What can we do?
It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of the devastation. But there are some moves we can make.
Sign this petition
Refugee Action are asking for the UK government to show compassion on those that need to seek shelter and safety by granting asylum.
Women for Afghan Women is a US based grassroots NGO. It “provides life changing, community based programs to thousands of women, children and families throughout Afghanistan. Our services include family counseling, education, and vocational training.” Donate here
Or Rukhsana Media - a woman-led media company reporting on the issues that affect women in Afghanistan.
And you can follow Shamsia Hassani on Instagram and buy her work.