Afghan women lawyers on the run face limbo abroad

After being on the run for seven weeks, Bibi Chaman Hafizi and her family have arrived in Greece.

Alongside 25 other female judges, lawyers and their families, she was evacuated from Afghanistan after the country fell to the Taliban.

"When the Taliban came we felt fear."

"That if we fell into the hands of the Taliban, they will kill us."

Under threat, female members of the judiciary fled the country in fear of the very men they jailed - now freed from prison by the insurgents. But now they're stuck in limbo, with no work and few belongings -- facing months of bureaucracy before they can settle elsewhere in Europe.

Before leaving, Hafizi burned every document in her home and went into hiding in a bid to protect herself and the family she left behind.

Judge Friba Quraishi also fled the country, fearing she could no longer leave her house and her children couldn't go to school. She hopes to reunite with family in the Netherlands.

"While I was staying with my friend, I received calls from Taliban from four different numbers. They were saying 'we are from the Intelligence Services.' The Taliban captured the husband of one of my colleagues - she was a judge also - they captured him because she was a judge and also he was the nephew of the Balkh governor. From his phone they found my name, which was saved as Judge Friba, they found my number and they started threatening me."

The Taliban have announced a general amnesty for state workers and pledged to uphold women's rights, within Islamic law. A representative also denied the accounts of women judges and lawyers, saying they were using it as a pretext to resettle in the West.

But advocates fear a backslide after two decades of progress in women’s rights.

But with waning opportunities and Afghanistan plunged into a deep economic and political crisis, few of them can imagine returning.

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