Conquering Afghanistan’s highest peak was once unthinkable for Hanifa Yousoufi. Then she joined a climbing group, braving frostbite and the Taliban to strike a blow for gender equality
In a quiet corner of Kabul, a dozen young women welcome their friend back from the summit of Afghanistan’s highest mountain. Like many Afghan women, Hanifa Yousoufi had always been made to believe, growing up, that she shouldn’t go to school or play sport. Yet the 24-year-old has become the first Afghan woman to climb Mount Noshaq.
The young women gathered here are among the 70-strong cohort meeting six days a week to learn the art of climbing, something many never imagined they would have a chance to do.