“Like others who are committed, I will not turn away,” the award-winning actress wrote in her first Instagram post.
Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie has joined Instagram on Friday to use her vast influence to speak about the ongoing unrest in Afghanistan and amplify the “voices of those across the globe who are fighting for their basic human rights.”
Jolie dedicated her first post on the photo-sharing platform to a heartbreaking letter sent by a young girl from Afghanistan. “This is a letter I was sent from a teenage girl in Afghanistan,” Jolie wrote in the caption of the post. “Right now, the people of Afghanistan are losing their ability to communicate on social media and to express themselves freely. So I’ve come on Instagram to share their stories and the voices of those across the globe who are fighting for their basic human rights.”
In the letter, which was accompanied by a photo of Afghan women standing together with their backs to the camera, the Afghan teen noted that they used to be able to go to work and school until the Taliban took over. “We all had rights, we [were] able to defend our rights freely, but when they came, we are all afraid of them, and we think all our dreams are gone,” she wrote.
The letter also expressed doubt over whether the Taliban really has left its historically sexist stances and ideologies behind as they themselves claim to have done. “Some people say the Taliban’s changed, but I do not think so because they have a very bad past,” the letter reads.
In Jolie’s caption, she expressed her distress over the displacement of Afghans and the growing threat to women’s rights, including access to education, amid the Taliban’s ruthless takeover.
The Eternals star also shared how her trip to the Afghanistan border two weeks before 9/11 helped foster her relationship with Afghanistan and its citizens, and voiced disdain at how the same “sickening” sight of Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban rule 20 years ago is happening again today.
“It is sickening to watch Afghans being displaced yet again out of the fear and uncertainty that has gripped their country,” Jolie wrote.
“Watching for decades how Afghan refugees – some of the most capable people in the world – are treated like a burden is also sickening. Knowing that if they had the tools and respect, how much they would do for themselves. And meeting so many women and girls who not only wanted an education, but fought for it,” she added.
Within just a day, Jolie’s new account garnered more than 4 million followers. It now has 7.2 million as of press time.
On Sunday, Taliban insurgents have swiftly seized control of Afghanistan’s civilian government after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled and abandoned the presidential palace. This once again puts the militants in a position of power two decades after they were driven out by US forces.
Jolie capped off her Instagram post by affirming her commitment to assist women and refuges in Afghanistan. “Like others who are committed, I will not turn away. I will continue to look for ways to help. And I hope you’ll join me.”