The mass exodus sparked by the August 2021 Taliban takeover compelled Afghanistan’s new rulers to issue a call for Afghans to stay and help rebuild the country. But after a year of Taliban rule, the economy is in tatters, confidence has been shattered, and Afghanistan’s best and brightest are not returning – they’re fleeing in droves.
A few days before her interview with a US university admissions officer, Huma Usyan went to her local internet service provider in Kabul to try to ensure her connection would not be cut during the much-anticipated online meeting.
When the new rulers banned secondary schools for Afghan girls, Usyan turned to the internet in a desperate bid to continue her studies. In an interview with FRANCE 24 in October 2021, the grade-topping schoolgirl recounted the challenges of her online self-education endeavour.
After several months of online studying – aided by volunteers, including an English-language teacher, galvanised by the Afghan schoolgirl’s exceptional motivation – Usyan finally managed to reach the interview stage for a US university.
But the internet connection for the critical January 8 interview was out of the…