Afghanistan: Calls grow for release of activist who protested in Ghor on Women’s Day

Ghor Civil Society Network has called on the Taliban to release human rights activist Habiba Sharifi who was arrested after protesting outside the provincial governor’s office on Wednesday.

In a statement released on Thursday, the organization said that Habiba raised her voice for human rights and women’s rights, and that she had not committed a crime but had been arrested and imprisoned.

The network called on the Taliban to “tolerate” peaceful protests by Afghan women and stated they have a right to get an education and to work based on Islamic law.

The organization also called on the international community to step in and make the Taliban release Habiba and her father, who they also arrested.

Habiba Sharifi on Wednesday, on the occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8), protested alone in front of the Taliban governor’s office in Ghor and held a poster with a slogan demanding education, work, and social justice for women.

The Taliban, however, arrested Habiba and her father later that day at their home.

According to sources, the Taliban are holding Habiba in Firozkoh prison and her father is being held at the group’s intelligence directorate.

The U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, said in his latest report this week that the situation in Afghanistan has significantly deteriorated and the Taliban are systematically and intentionally erasing Afghan women from public life.

The Taliban has not commented on the detention of Habiba Sharifi so far.