Wasted Dreams of a Young Afghan Journalist


Firoz Sidiqy was born in Baghlan province in 1993, when the country was embroiled in critical civil war. He earned a degree in engineering from Jawzjan University, and graduated with a first class degree. Firoz worked as a Journalists [graphic designer and content writer] at Khaama Press News Agency, a local online English website providing reliable and accurate news on social, political, economic and other major global affairs.

Following the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban on August 15, Firoz Sidiqy put on his clothes and headed to office with a backpack and a computer for another working day. In mid-August, the provinces were surrendered to the Taliban one after another, news behind the scenes were prepared, photos were designed and published respectively. Hearing the news of the Taliban’s control over provinces and Kabul being under attack from several directions put Firoz in a complete shock. Kabul’s capture by the Taliban and President Ashraf Ghani’s escape from the country shuttered his dreams of building a bright future and serving his people and country.

Firoz’s passion for reading was unparalleled at a time when the reading culture was rare in Afghanistan. During his university days, he worked hard to expand his general knowledge by reading books on different topics. Firoz loved to socialize and build strong networks among his friends and classmates.

Firoz and his friends initiated “Tourist Books” a project aimed at promoting reading culture in the country. This major project provided an opportunity for people to benefit from reading books. His team set up mobile book booths on the roads of Kabul and other provinces. Readers could pick up their favorite books from the booths and read. This initiative paved the way for Firoz to build one of Afghanistan’s reading communities, and he took on the task of collecting more books for the readers.  

His desire to promote reading culture pushed him to seek creative solutions. Later, he established “Book Cafe 451” in Kabul, warmly welcomed by Kabul citizens and the media. Book Cafe 451 has been an ideal place for readers and creative thinkers of the young generation. Poetry nights, musical events, and reunions were regularly held, where people could enjoy the company of one another. Firoz also initiated the “Afghan Youth Empowerment Camp”, aimed at encouraging students how to prepare for university and strive for building a brighter future.

As a journalist and designer, Firoz loves to capture photos and portray Afghanistan’s unique scenes to the outside world. Since the takeover of the country by the Taliban, his normal media activities have been restricted to a great extent.

Apparently, Firoz’s past journalistic gains are in vain, who desperately struggles for his survival. He made several attempts to leave the country, but he was not allowed. Now, it is extremely difficult for him to live under the Taliban regime who have already started door-to-door search for journalists and civil activists. Therefore, Firoz and his family needs immediate protection and support from the international journalist advocacy organizations and other relevant bodies that operate in this field.  




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