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Angelina Jolie has joined Instagram and dedicated her first post to a letter from a young Afghan teen girl, detailing her fears over women’s rights once again being stripped amid the Taliban’s takeover of the country’s government.
“This is a letter I was sent from a teenage girl in Afghanistan,” Jolie wrote in the caption of the post. “Right now, the people of Afghanistan are losing their ability to communicate on social media and to express themselves freely. So I’ve come on Instagram to share their stories and the voices of those across the globe who are fighting for their basic human rights.”
The award-winning actress and Eternals star expounded on how she built her relationship with Afghanistan and its citizens — through a trip to the Afghanistan border two weeks before 9/11 — and detailed her experiences of seeing Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban 20 years ago.
“It is sickening to watch Afghans being displaced yet again out of the fear and uncertainty that has gripped their country,” Jolie said. “To spend so much time and money, to have blood shed and lives lost only to come to this, is a failure almost impossible to understand.”
Jolie also criticized world leaders for their treatment of the country’s refugees, who she said are being sickeningly “treated like a burden” despite being “the most capable people in the world” who could do so much for themselves if “they had the tools and respect.” She also pointed to “meeting so many women and girls who not only wanted an education, but fought for it.”
The letter Jolie received from the young teen, which is accompanied in her post by a photo of several Afghan women standing with their backs to the camera, notes that ahead of the Taliban’s takeover, young women like her went to school and work. “We all had rights, we [were] able to defend our rights freely, but when they came, we are all afraid of them, and we think all our dreams are gone,” she wrote.
Within the note, the young girl also expresses skepticism around whether the Taliban has “changed” its historically sexist stances and ideology around women, writing about her anxieties and fear over losing the opportunity to attend school and get an education. “Some people say the Taliban’s changed, but I do not think so because they have a very bad past,” the letter reads.
Jolie ended her Instagram post declaring her commitment to help women and refugees in Afghanistan. “Like others who are committed, I will not turn away. I will continue to look for ways to help. And I hope you’ll join me.”
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