Two girls holding paper signs that say "Education is our right"

Afghan student struggles with adjusting to life in the US

Many women saw no future for themselves in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over. So, when offered a chance to leave, many took it. Reporter Rebecca Rosman meets a young Afghan student. Unfortunately, her temporary status in the US is a constant shadow, as she can't go home again.

The World

This December will mark one year since Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers imposed an indefinite ban on higher education for women in Afghanistan. 

The insurgent group has been cracking down on women’s rights ever since taking back power in August 2021. 

Since then, thousands of women have fled to seek education elsewhere. 

Being able to study in the US has granted them many opportunities. But for one young Afghan woman studying at a private university on the East Coast, life in the US is still filled with all kinds of instability.

In our profile, the student wonders what happens after she finishes her master's degree. It’s not clear how long she can stay in the United States.

Most of the 90,000 Afghans who have arrived in the US since mid-2021 do not have official residency and were granted a temporary status called humanitarian parole.  

Last month, the Biden administration extended protection for another 18 months.

Once it expires, the young Afghan woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she fears for her family back in Afghanistan, could still lose everything.

“I think [about] what will happen [to] my own civil life here,” she said.

The student talked to The World about living between two worlds of uncertainty: the first is the situation for women and girls back home and the second is what happens if she loses the right to remain in the US — because going home is no longer an option.

Related: He spoke out against banning girls’ education. The Taliban silenced him.

Will you keep The World spinning?

Donations from listeners like you are absolutely crucial in funding the great music and human-centered global news you hear on The World. Recurring gifts provide predictable, sustainable support — letting our team focus on telling the stories you don’t hear anywhere else. If you make a gift of $100 or pledge $10/month we’ll send you a curated playlist highlighting some of the team's favorite music from the show Donate today to keep The World spinning.