(Women for Afghan Women, a humanitarian organization I’ve supported for many years, runs a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence in Kabul, and a smaller one in Mazar-i-sharif. In this urgent letter, Manizha Naderi details local conditions as the country prepares to vote on August 20th. I’m reprinting it here with WAW’s permission. For more information about WAW, and to make a donation, go here.)

Wonderful Supporters of WAW,

Writing this quickly because internet keeps failing. Security isreally bad in Kabul. Yesterday there were 2 suicide bombings and 6rockets attacks. Today 5 suicide bombers were holding up a bank in thecity. They were killed along with 4 police men. And I have beenhearing the sounds of rockets all day today but the media is notallowed to report on any violence until after the elections.

I have been under a lot of stress lately. I have over 100 staffmembers and 112 people in our shelters to keep safe.

For the past two weeks, our staff have stayed in the office and wehave not been doing home visits to clients. Starting today our centersare closed, and staff has been asked to stay at home. I’ve asked ourdrivers to take the cars home with them so if there are anyemergencies, they can get to the shelter fast.

We currently have 68 women and 12 children in the Kabul shelter and 32women and 4 children in the Mazar shelter. Last night the policecalled us and referred 2 new cases to us.

We have tried to ensure the participation of women in the elections.We have helped many women (our clients who are living at home ratherthan in our shelters) get registered to vote. I have also encouragedour staff to vote on election day.

We cannot take the women from the shelter to vote on election day. Itwill simply be too dangerous. Also I don’t want people in theneighborhood to find out that a lot of women are living in one house.

I will try and send another update soon. Thank you all for caringabout this beleaguered country and it’s women and girls. Please prayfor us during these terrifying days.

Manizha Naderi
Executive Director, Women for Afghan Women