Behind the Headlines

The Fearless Journalist Spotlighting Afghanistan's Women

Reporting on Taliban activities was a journalistic effort that was inherently dangerous. But for Afghanistan's Khaldea Khorsand, it was a life-or-death job that was deeply personal. A former correspondent for BBC Persia and Pajhwok—Afghanistan’s largest media outlet—Khorsand was one of the few women allowed to work during the Taliban's regime, and still had to play by its misogynistic rules while attempting to denounce them.
After the Taliban fell in 2001, Khorsand has studied the lingering effect that the regime still has on Afghanistan’s social, cultural, and economic realities. Today, she uses her unique position as a female writer and broadcaster to advocate for women’s equality, despite the constant threat of personal danger. Khorsand has been followed and threatened for her work, and endured three days of stalking after hosting a debate on the roles of religion and secularism in Afghan culture. But Khosand won’t let the specter of intimidation dampen her commitment to broadening the opportunities for her nation’s girls and women. “If we are afraid all of the time,” she says, “we wouldn’t be able to carry on.”
Citing the country’s enduring poverty, widespread illiteracy, and extreme violence as the three most daunting hurdles facing today’s Afghanistan, Khorsand spotlights stories that will help promote a more compassionate, peaceful future for all, especially the women long-silenced by the Taliban’s distorted interpretations of Islamic law.
Want to know more Khaldea's incredible story? Check out this up-close look at the women of Afghanistan's ongoing struggle for equality.

About Behind the Headlines

Refinery29’s original series “Behind the Headlines” takes an in-depth, human look at the policy debates dominating the global news media, from American immigration reform to the continuing struggles of Syrian refugees and Afghanistan’s lingering gender inequality crisis. Bypassing the pundits, we’re dedicated to spotlighting the stories of the people whose lives have been profoundly impacted by these issues, and believe that their voices must be heard.

Released on March 8, 2017