UN official urges Taliban to free detained human rights advocates, journalists

Richard Bennett, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for Afghanistan, demanded Monday that the Taliban immediately free human rights advocates, NGO employees, and journalists held in custody “without justification”.

Bennett’s statement followed the recent liberation of Zholia Parsi, a prominent activist detained for nearly three months by the Taliban. He applauded the release of Parsi and Neda Parwani, another activist, and their families, emphasizing that their imprisonment was unwarranted.

“These individuals should never have been jailed,” Bennett said. He reiterated his call for the swift release of other Afghan human rights defenders, non-governmental organization workers, and journalists unjustly imprisoned for advocating human rights.

The Taliban have remained silent on the reasons for detaining these activists, known for organizing indoor demonstrations against the regime’s policies on women and girls.