Calls mount for release of activist Zholia Parsi

Women protestors have once again echoed their concerns about the arbitrary detention of women’s rights activists by the Taliban, saying that the international community has remained silent towards the Taliban’s oppressive treatment of women.

The protestors meanwhile called for the release of Zholia Parsi, leader of Junbish Khodjosh Zanan Mutariz Afghanistan, a women’s rights movement. They urged the international community to take practical actions to press the Taliban to release Parsi.

Parsi was arrested along with her son by the Taliban on Wednesday in Kabul. She is a women’s rights activist who has stood against the Taliban’s policies towards women.

Shamayal Tawana, a women’s rights defender and member of the Junbish Zanan Adalat Khwa, said that the Taliban have held the people of Afghanistan hostage over the past two years.

She argued that the Taliban have imposed oppressive policies and committed crimes against women in Afghanistan.

“But what is important is the voice and demonstration of women which has been the only fight against the Taliban,” she said.

“The Taliban are using any kind of violent instrument to choke the voice made for equality but we are concerned and disappointed about the silence of the world and human rights organizations regarding the misogynistic and cruel actions of the Taliban.”

The arrest of Parsi comes a week after Neda Parwani, another women’s activist, was apprehended with her husband and eight-year-old son. There has been no information about her whereabouts or well-being.

Marriam Arvin, head of the Junbish-e-Arghavani, said that the recent detention of female protestors is rooted in the suppressive ideology of the Taliban regarding women.

“Over the past two years, unfortunately, the Taliban’s efforts aimed to cruelly suppress the voices that are echoed for justice and freedom of all Afghan citizens particularly women and girls in Afghanistan,” she said.

Arvin called on the international community and the people of Afghanistan not to allow the Taliban to detain women who are fighting for their rights.

Women and girls have been deprived of their rights to education, work and freedom of movement in public areas since the Taliban regained power.

Girls banned from going to school and university have repeatedly voiced their frustration and urged the international community to press the Taliban to reopen their schools.

Mina, a resident of Farah said she was dismissed from her job after the Taliban’s takeover.

“Since the Taliban came to power, women and girls were forced to go home. The schools and universities for girls and women have been closed,” she said. “I myself was working but I lost my job after the Taliban returned. I am concerned about my and other girls’ future,” she said.

Farshta, a resident of Kabul stressed that women are being harassed by the Taliban in public areas.

“The Taliban closed the women’s beauty salons, parks have been banned for women and so have been the restaurants. They [Taliban] closed any place belonging to women. Even when I went to the education ministry to get a document of my three-year scores, they first refused to give it to me but then criticized me for not having a male guardian with me,” she said.

Farshta also criticized the Taliban for not allowing girls to take the university entrance examination.

“They didn’t even consider us valuable enough to take the university examination. I am just an example of millions of girls, who are deprived of their education,” she said.

The Taliban however have so far not commented on the detention of Parsi or Parwani.

Women who have been freed from Taliban detention over the past two years have spoken about torture, beatings, forced confessions and even death threats by the Taliban forces.