RFE/RL, August 25, 2023

Death Of Popular Female Afghan YouTuber Prompts Anger

Sadat’s death has underscored the dangers faced by women under the Taliban.

Hura Sadat female YouTuber killed in Kabul
Youtuber Hora Sadat was killed in Kabul on Aug.21,2023.

Hora Sadat, a prominent female Afghan YouTuber, mysteriously died in Kabul on August 21. Reports suggested the 25-year-old was poisoned after attending a public event.

The Taliban on August 24 said that two people -- a man and a woman -- had been arrested in connection with Sadat’s death.

The motive for her alleged poisoning is not clear. Sadat’s death has prompted anger on social media, with some activists pointing the finger at the Taliban. But others have speculated that personal enmity could have been the cause of her death. She is believed to have recently split from her fiance.

When contacted by RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi, Sadat’s brother refused to comment on the details of her death.

Why It's Important: Sadat’s death has underscored the dangers faced by women under the Taliban.

Since seizing power in 2021, the Taliban has banned women from education and most forms of employment, effectively denied them any public role in society, and imposed strict limitations on their mobility and appearance.

Sadat, who had 300,000 subscribers on YouTube, produced videos on social issues for a mainly young audience. She also participated in public events organized by women in Kabul, although she was not known for publicly criticizing the Taliban.

Maryam Maarouf Arwin, an Afghan women’s rights activist, told Radio Azadi that she suspected Sadat had been targeted and killed. “In the past, we have witnessed the murder of active women many times," she said.

There is no evidence that the Taliban was involved in Sadat’s death.

What's Next: The militant group has previously detained or arrested women who have played a visible role in society, a trend that is likely to continue.

On August 20, the Taliban detained eight female members of the Afghan Unity and Solidarity Movement, which has publicly opposed the militant group’s draconian policies. The women were reportedly released after vowing to stop their protests.

In January, Mursal Nabidzadah, a former female lawmaker, was shot dead along with a bodyguard when unidentified gunmen broke into her house in Kabul. The motives for her killing still remain unclear.

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