Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was shot in the face by the Taliban, calls on the international community to protect Afghanistan's women and children

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Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai has called for the international community to protect women and children following the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan. Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images
  • Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai urged the international community to protect Afghan women and girls.

  • In a tweet, she also asked for urgent humanitarian aid to be sent to Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

  • When she was 15, Yousafzai was shot in the face by a masked Taliban gunman while on her way home from school.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai on August 16 called for the international community to protect Afghan women and girls.

Speaking to the BBC, Yousafzai said: "We cannot see a country going decades and centuries back. We have to take some bold stances for the protection of women and girls, for the protection of minority groups, and for peace and stability in the region."

Yousafzai's interview with the BBC on August 16 followed her statement posted on Twitter on Sunday, where she said she was "deeply worried about women, minorities, and human rights advocates."

"We watch in complete shock as Taliban takes control of Afghanistan," Yousafzai tweeted on August 15.

"Global, regional, and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians," she added.

Yousafzai was 15 in 2012, when the Taliban went after her for campaigning for the right of girls to receive an education. She was shot in the face by a masked Taliban gunman who stormed her school bus and opened fire.

In 2014, Yousafzai became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She went on to study at Oxford University.

The 24-year-old human rights activist called the situation in Afghanistan an "urgent humanitarian crisis," adding that "every country has a role and responsibility" to open their borders to Afghan refugees and displaced people.

"My request to all countries, especially the US, UK, and Western countries, is that they must protect all those human and women's rights activists right now," Yousafzai told the BBC on Monday.

She told the BBC that she had written a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to ask him to ensure refugee children and girls continue to have access to education, safety, and protection within refugee camps.

The Taliban is now slated to formally retake power in the country and plans to rename it the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

When the Taliban was last in power in 2001, women's rights and freedoms were severely restricted under its form of Sharia law. Among other restrictions, women were required to wear head-to-toe coverings, were barred from schools, and were not allowed to leave home unless accompanied by a male relative, per a 2001 US State Department report.

Insider reported that Afghan women now fear that they will be barred from work and that rule breakers will be stoned. Zarifa Ghafari, a 27-year-old female mayor and women's rights activist, told UK media outlet iNews that the Taliban "will come for people like me and kill me."

In the meantime, troubling photos and videos have emerged of people trying to flee Afghanistan by clambering onto a jet bridge and clinging onto the sides of a US Air Force plane. At least five people have been killed during the chaos at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport.

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