Like many middle class teenagers in 1970s Kabul, Shabnam grew up assuming she would go to university. Her father was a prominent legal scholar and a progressive who worked at Afghanistan’s Supreme Court, and he had always encouraged his daughter’s education. He was in step with the times ushered in by a Soviet-backed government that, for all its political abuses and religious repression, at least got women educated. Her fiancé, however, was just the opposite.


Name changed to protect identity.