Afghan activist, researcher and Afghan refugee
Massouda Kohistani is a women’s rights defender and Afghan political and social activist. At the age of 17, in 1998, her family was forced to flee the Taliban regime on foot to neighbouring Pakistan. Later, upon hers return to Afghanistan, she studied a bachelor in Business Administration at Maiwand University of Higher Education in Afghanistan.
She has more than 18 years of experience in project management, consulting, and social and political research both independently and with different Afghan organisations. From a young age she joined with women’s rights movements. More recently, she participated as a facilitator in the National Consulting Peace Jirga, a project devised by the Afghan government to put forward proposals for national reconciliation and national reintegration prior to the Doha peace process. In December 2018, she became an active member of the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN), which works on women’s participation in the peace process at the national and international levels in 2019.
Especially since then, Massouda Kohistani is best known for defending women’s rights. This has made of herself a vulnerable target in the eyes of the Taliban, and risks being subjected to persecution.
During August 2021, she played an important role in supporting networks of women who wanted to be evacuated, and participated in organising the first university protests following the Taliban’s seizure of power. Thanks to a contact, she was able to enter the evacuation lists from Spain and arrive in the country. She currently resides in Salamanca, with the support of the organisation Cepaim.