Human rights activists recount Taliban torture ahead of Doha meeting

As the third Doha meeting on Afghanistan convenes, several human rights activists who were detained by the Taliban have called on the Taliban to respect the will of the people of Afghanistan.

Sayed Hamed Dadshani, who was held by the Taliban for nearly four months, recounted his harrowing experiences of torture. Dadshani urged the UN and participants of the Doha meeting to pressure the Taliban to uphold human rights.

“The UN has damaged its credibility among the people of Afghanistan by excluding women from the main Doha meeting sessions,” he said.

Sayed Hamed Shadmani, human rights activist

After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Dadshani protested against their rule and advocated for the rights of Afghans. His activism led to his arrest and subsequent detention for four months, during which he endured severe abuse.

“Unfortunately, after the fall of Afghanistan, I was captured by a tyrannical group. This group tortured and abused me and other prisoners against Sharia law. They took pride in such forbidden acts,” he recounted.

Dadshani views the third round of the Doha meeting as an opportunity for the UN to persuade the Taliban to commit to protecting human rights. However, he condemned the exclusion of women and civil society members from the meeting, emphasizing that it should be used to build a future for Afghanistan.

“Unfortunately, the meeting is being held without the presence of popular movements, benefiting the stakeholder countries. This meeting lacks credibility among the people and is against international conventions; however, I hope that the voice of the people will be heard in this meeting,” he noted.

Over the past nearly three years, the Taliban has tortured and detained dozens of human rights activists, women’s rights activists, and journalists who have spoken out against its repressive policies, particularly those targeting women’s rights.