When Makiz Nasirahmad, a 24-year-old Afghan American who recently lived in Afghanistan, received a Facebook friend request from a woman with an unfamiliar name, she didn’t think twice about accepting it. The woman’s profile picture had clearly been copied off the internet, but Nasirahmad figured that the woman could be a relative of hers, trying to hide her identity; many families in Afghanistan disapprove of women posting their pictures online, so women sometimes hide behind fake names and photos.
Before long, the woman started sending Nasirahmad private messages. “Hello,” she wrote. Then, a couple of days later, another “Hello,” followed by hearts.
Nasirahmad’s new friend, it turned out, wasn’t an aunt or a cousin but a stranger—and a male one at that.
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