The Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for publicly advocating education for women and girls, has said she is in “complete shock” that the group has taken control of Afghanistan.
The 24-year-old said she was “deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates” and called for more intervention from world leaders.
“We watch in complete shock as Taliban takes control of Afghanistan. Global, regional and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians,” she said in a post on Twitter.
Yousafzai was forced to flee Pakistan’s Swat Valley when it was taken over by the Taliban in 2008 and girls were banned from going to school. She spoke out publicly about the importance of female education and was subsequently shot by a masked Taliban gunman on her way home from school in October 2012 when she was 15.
She was flown to the UK and treated for her injuries in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth hospital, before continuing her activism, setting up the Malala Fund charity for girls’ education, and completing a degree in philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford.
She received the Nobel peace prize in December 2014 and became the youngest Nobel laureate.
In her 2013 book I Am Malala, she describes the Taliban invading her valley, closing down and destroying girls’ schools, and the constant state of fear from continuous gunfire.
After two decades of military presence in Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents have swiftly taken over the country in recent weeks and took the capital, Kabul, on Sunday with little resistance.
A Taliban spokesperson said they would now begin the process of forming a government, stated that they wanted a peaceful transition of power and that they respected women’s rights and freedom for minorities under sharia law.
However, in some regions recently captured by the Taliban women havebeen prevented from attending schools and universities and banned from leaving the house without a male escort.