Women working inside an Afghan chemical lab face uncertain future

At a fertiliser plant in Afghanistan’s north, women work to support their families amid changes after Taliban’s return.

A photo of Fatima Safari.
Women working as lab technicians in a factory in northern Afghanistan support their families as the country’s economic crisis deepens [Kern Hendricks/Al Jazeera]

Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan – Arzoo Noori holds two glass vials, carefully pouring a clear liquid from one to the other. As she holds one beaker up to the light of the window, swirling it slowly, the solution begins to turn a shade of translucent pink.

In the high-ceilinged room behind her, Noori and six of her colleagues – all women clad in spotless white laboratory coats and latex gloves – make notes on clipboards, adjust bunsen burners, and handle antiquated-looking measuring devices. Amidst the delicate clinking of glassware and the scribble of pencils, the room has an air of calm, quiet productivity.