Activists urge increased pressure on Taliban for release of detained rights defenders

Women protestors in Kabul. File photo.

Following the recent release of two women’s rights activists from Taliban custody, advocates are urging increased international pressure on the Taliban to free other detained rights defenders.

Zholia Parsi, a noted women’s rights activist, was released on Monday after nearly three months in Taliban confinement, sources confirmed. Parsi was detained in Kabul’s Fathullah area on September 27. The Taliban have not disclosed the reasons for her arrest.

Despite Parsi’s release, at least two other activists, Manizha Seddiqi and Parisa Azada, remain in Taliban custody, according to latest reports.

“Girls, political and social activists have faced imprisonment and torture in Taliban prisons for almost three years,” stated Zarmina Pariani, an Afghan activist in Germany. “International declarations have aided some releases, but the Taliban’s culture of capture, torture, and repression persists. Simply broadcasting international community announcements is not enough.”

Many civil activists are calling on human rights organizations to exert maximum pressure on the Taliban to secure the freedom of women’s rights advocates.

Maryam Marouf Arwin, a women’s rights activist, expressed a dire need for the release of all female protesters, human rights activists, civil activists, journalists, and former soldiers who have been detained for advocating for rights and freedom, especially in support of Afghan women and girls, and are suffering under Taliban torture.

In addition to women, the Taliban have also imprisoned university professors, journalists, and other civil activists. Rasul Parsi, a former professor at Herat University, has been in Taliban prison for almost a year due to his critical social media posts.