Bahaar Joya profile background image
Bahaar Joya profile image

Bahaar Joya

Freelance contributor

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Bahaar Joya is a freelance journalist for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

August 15, 2023

Five months after Taliban supporters smashed up her restaurant, Afghan entrepreneur Laila Haidari opened a secret craft centre where women earn a small income stitching elaborate dresses and fashioning jewellery from melted down bullet casings.

Her workshop is among an array of underground businesses that women have launched since losing their jobs after the Taliban grabbed power in 2021, ranging from gyms to beauty salons and girls' schools.

August 08, 2023

After a decade lecturing at an Afghan university, former economist Shabana Sediqian is about to retrain as a nurse - it is not a career change she ever envisaged, but it will at least allow her to get out of the house again.

A growing number of professional women are enrolling in nursing and midwifery courses, fed up of being cooped up in their homes since the Taliban seized power two years ago - and needing money after losing their jobs.

December 21, 2022

Hidden in the basement of a private home in the Afghan capital Kabul, gym instructor Laila Ahmad takes a group of women through a clandestine exercise class - the windows are blacked out, there is no pumping music and visitors arrive by a back door.

The Taliban banned women from gyms and parks last month, the latest clampdown in a progressive erosion of their freedoms that drew swift international condemnation.

August 11, 2022

After the Taliban seized Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021, hundreds of thousands of Afghans fled their homeland in fear of reprisals by the hardline Islamist group; some were evacuated by foreign powers such as the United States and Britain while others left by whatever means they could.

On foot and on flights, many left behind comfortable lives with no guarantee they would ever be able to return to a safe and stable Afghanistan in future.

August 10, 2022

As the Taliban mark one year in power in Afghanistan, four Afghans tell the Thomson Reuters Foundation what has happened to them since they fled their homeland.

Photojournalist Massoud Hossaini, 40, is the only Afghan to win a Pulitzer Prize. He received the award in 2012 for his image of a girl surrounded by bodies after a suicide bombing in Kabul. Hossaini left Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, and is temporarily living in New Zealand, hoping to obtain a U.S. visa.

This is Hossaini's story as told to reporter Bahaar Joya.

August 10, 2022

When Jahan was evacuated to Britain after the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, she felt like an angel had come to take her to "paradise". But being stuck in a tiny hotel room for most of a year has verged on purgatory.

More than half of the 20,000 Afghans who have arrived in Britain in the last year are still in temporary accommodation, unable to put down roots and rebuild their lives.

August 09, 2022

As the Taliban mark one year in power in Afghanistan, four Afghans tell the Thomson Reuters Foundation what has happened to them since they fled their homeland.

Women's rights advocate Mujgan Kaveh, 35, worked in the western Afghan city of Herat for The National Democratic Institute (NDI), a non-profit part-funded by the U.S. government. Her family was initially relocated to North Macedonia, but now lives in Canada where she is training to become a nurse.

February 14, 2022

As a female prosecutor in Afghanistan, Shafiqa Sae knew she had to flee for her life when the Taliban seized power – what she did not realise was just how much it would cost.

Smugglers are exploiting Afghans' desperation to leave the country, hiking prices after demand grew for their services and borders became harder to cross.

September 22, 2021

Shortly after the Taliban seized Kabul, gunmen visited Sadaf's beauty salon and threatened to shoot her in the face before smashing the front window.

"I was really shaking and scared. I've been at home ever since," said Sadaf, a 40-year-old widow who relies on the income from her salon to support her five children.