On International Women’s Day female activists share tales of Taliban torture

On International Women’s Day, a female activist fighting for girls’ education recounted her ordeal of detention and abuse by the Taliban. Marriam, a pseudonym, revealed she was arrested and publicly subjected to 52 lashes by the Taliban for her advocacy efforts.

Bearing physical reminders of her punishment, Marriam shared her harrowing experience of spending 20 days in detention before being released on condition. The Taliban, she said, cautioned her and her family against opposing its strictures.

“In the presence of onlookers and relatives at the court, I was whipped 52 times by those who claim women must not leave their homes unveiled. Yet, they contradict themselves by physically punishing a woman who is not their mahram,” Marriam expressed.

Following the public lashing, Marriam was taken back to the Taliban’s detention facility, where she spent another night. “After considerable effort, I managed to be released. They even threatened my family, restricting my freedom to move about,” she recounted.

Farzana, another woman who has endured the Taliban’s imprisonment, now resides in Pakistan. She speaks of the lasting trauma from her captivity. “I’ve been unable to find peace at night since my detention. I only find a few hours of rest in the early morning,” Farzana stated. “The silence of the night terrifies me. Each time I close my eyes, I relive the lashes, slaps, and kicks, and the image of the Taliban shooting at bodies haunts my nightmares.”

Still shaken by her experience, Farzana reflects on the terror of the Taliban’s prison.

As the Taliban intensifies its crackdown on women, many female protesters have shifted their demonstrations to indoor venues, seeking safer spaces to voice their dissent.