The Sheikh family fled Jalalabad after several attacks on a media company built over the past 20 years. “We broadcast movies and music on our channels and make statements critical of human rights and politics. The Taliban do not want that,” Sheikh says with a smile.
The Shark Network has become popular with Western troops in Afghanistan in recent decades. Sheikhs are one of many Afghan families who have handed over their fate into the hands of NATO nations, promising to build an independent and open Afghanistan. “From the moment we got American money, we really grew,” says Sheikh. “They liked what we did.”
Right to read
But that success story came to a halt last weekend. 24-year-old daughter Henna is sitting at the kitchen table. She continued to call friends in Kabul, texting, and she sat nervously at home for several days. The Taliban were on campus, searching the archive for a list of students’ names. But according to Henna, they were destroyed in a timely manner.
“Future Afghan leaders were trained at an American university, and there were students from all over the country. Women can get scholarships and study there,” says Henna. “The Conservative Afghans called us ‘Children of America’, so there was a lot of protest. But we fought and stood up for our right to education.”
Student Henna Sheikh realizes that her friends in Kabul have been abandoned by the United States and other NATO countries, after the army withdrew and the Taliban recaptured the capital:
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”