‘They killed my puppy because I am a woman’

On a Friday like every other week, Sahba Barakzai and her family hiked and picnicked near their homes with her seven months old Siberian husky puppy. But unlike every other Friday, this time they were attacked by a group of armed men who shot the puppy despite the cries and pleas of Sahba and her family and forced her to leave the dog’s body behind with them. For this group of attackers, a woman shouldn’t be allowed to own a dog in Afghanistan.

But this is not the only “crime” that they accuse Sabha to be guilty of. Sabha Barakzai is a pillar of her community in Herat, she teaches children karate and biking for teenagers and young girls in a country that merely 20 years ago didn’t allow women to go out without a male chaperone or girls to go to school. Sabha has always fought for her sports clubs and received many threats over the years.

But the death of her puppy, who should have normally lived about 14 years by her side, broke her spirit. Her family referred to the puppy as Sabha’s daughter, because the woman was so attached to her dog. This personal attack so close to her home has forced her to close her clubs down and to plan to move to Iran hoping she can be safer there.