Women’s rights advocates call for action against Taliban’s human rights violations

Women’s protest in Kabul. File photo.

Women’s rights defenders are looking to the outcomes of the Doha meeting to address the deteriorating human rights situation in Afghanistan, particularly in light of the Taliban’s increasing repression of women and girls.

The Taliban has arrested many women protesting against the ban on female education and other policies that limit women’s societal participation.

Nargas Sadaat, a protester who spent 66 days in Taliban detention, stated her commitment to defending women’s rights. She was arrested on January 9, 2023, while protesting in Kabul against the Taliban’s harsh treatment of women. Sadaat disclosed that she was subjected to whipping and electric shocks in custody and called on the UN to take decisive steps to improve the situation for women and girls in Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s recent public crackdowns include detaining girls for what it terms “bad hijab.” Some mothers, in interviews with Amu, expressed fear for their daughters’ safety outside the home, leading to severe restrictions on their movements.

Many families have fled Afghanistan seeking a better life abroad as the Taliban continues to enforce strict measures on women and girls. Halima Mahdavi, now in Iran, was arrested by the Taliban on March 15, 2022, in Kabul’s Dasht-e Barchi area.

Since the fall of the former government, Afghans face severe challenges, including the Taliban’s torture of former military officials. Zabiullah, a former commando officer, now in Iran, hopes the Doha meeting will encourage the Taliban to cease retaliatory actions against former military personnel.

The Taliban delegation did not participate in the Doha meeting, led by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.