Four days after the Taliban took power, Afghan Youtuber and aspiring journalist Najma Sadeqi (20) shot her latest video. Last week she was killed trying to flee from Kabul. A suicide bomber blew himself up. In total, at least 170 Afghans were killed, including Najma. Two of her colleagues confirmed this to CNN.
“Since we are not allowed to work and cannot leave our homes, I had to record one last video for you,” Najma says as she sits on her bed and asks her followers to pray for her. “In this video, I say goodbye to all of you.” Najma is terrified to go out on the street, says the young Afghan woman.
“Life in Kabul has become very difficult, especially for those who used to be happy and free. I hope it’s just a bad dream we can wake up from one day. But I know that is not possible (…).” The Afghan YouTuber occasionally goes silent and tries to suppress her tears. “I know it’s done.”
To make money
Twenty-year-old Najma studied journalism in Kabul and was a member of the YouTube channel ‘Afghan Insider’. In their videos, Najma and her friend Rohina provided insight into daily life in Afghanistan.
Their videos, which have been viewed 24 million times, were about hanging out with friends, clothing, and music. Najma used it to earn money for her and her family. The two friends recorded the last video separately for fear of leaving the house.
“I worked to earn enough for my daily expenses and my education,” explains Najma in her latest video. “Most families in the city just wait for one meal a day to survive.”
Najma wanted to leave the country with her brother and cousin to escape the Taliban regime. They thought it was the only way to freedom. Their flight didn’t go as planned at all. On August 26, the three were killed in a suicide attack near the airport in Kabul, three of Najma’s colleagues confirmed to CNN. In total, at least 170 Afghans were killed in the attack.
Even before the terrorist attack, many journalists and video bloggers had gone into hiding for fear of the Taliban. Najma’s girlfriend Rohina has also fled and is living in hiding. “I’ve heard they will prosecute girls who worked in the media,” she told CNN.
“I was the sole breadwinner in my family. My father is dead, and my brother is not old enough to work. I used the income I earned through my YouTube channel to pay for all our expenses. Now I’m unemployed, I’m too scared to go out, and we have no income at all. I don’t know how we can survive this situation.”
Another YouTuber who wishes to remain anonymous tells CNN that the Taliban have smartphones with internet access. “They can recognize me that way,” it reads. “Yesterday, it was Najma. Maybe tomorrow it will be me and then another girl.”