Woman reveals disturbing details of torture in Taliban custody

A woman, whose sister was detained by the Taliban in the Dasht-e-Barchi area in the west of Kabul, has come forward to disclose unsettling accounts of torture and humiliation endured by her sister at the hands of the Taliban.

The woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous, revealed that her sibling was released after enduring two nights in Taliban custody, contingent on the payment of a 60,000 Afghanis ($850) fine and the provision of guarantees.

She recounted, “My sister was working as an intern at a private hospital in Kabul. On January 8th, when her shift concluded, she and a female colleague were apprehended by the Taliban, accused of ‘failure to adhere to the Taliban’s prescribed dress code.’ Following humiliation, torture, and harassment, they were held captive,” the sister divulged.

“My family tirelessly searched for her until 8 PM, while several Taliban police stations refused to provide any information about her. Ultimately, during the third visit to a Taliban police station, they confirmed her presence. However, only after securing two substantial guarantees from affluent individuals, presenting property documents, and paying a ‘60,000 Afghanis dress code fine’ were they able to secure her release,” she added.

In response to a scathing report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) regarding the detention of women and girls, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, the acting head of the Taliban’s Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, dismissed the report as “one-sided and far from reality.” Hanafi urged UNAMA to collaborate with the Taliban before publishing such reports, asserting that the Taliban should be given the opportunity to address specific issues before judgment.

“UNAMA should refrain from releasing biased and disconnected-from-reality reports about Afghanistan and should engage in discussions regarding specific matters concerning the Taliban before publication. If UNAMA fails to communicate these concerns with the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, it should not pass judgments independently,” Hanafi stated.

The Taliban has initiated a campaign of detaining women and girls over violations of their strict dress code since the start of the new year. While the exact number of detainees remains unclear, the Taliban has consistently downplayed the severity of these detentions, attributing them to a few girls involved in what they termed as “modeling,” asserting that they were detained for only a short period.