Women activists demand protection for Shiites in Afghanistan

The Purple Saturdays Movement, in a statement linked to the recent attacks against Shiites in Afghanistan, has called on the United Nations and the European Union to pressure the Taliban to protect Shiite communities in the country.

The statement questioned the Taliban’s claims of providing nationwide security and denying the presence of ISIS in Afghanistan, especially in light of an attack on Shiite worshippers in the district of Guzara, Herat.

“How can the Taliban justify the attack on Shiite worshippers in Guzara Herat if they claim ISIS does not exist in Afghanistan?” the statement read.

The women’s protest movement contends that the recent attack on the Imam Zaman Mosque in Herat exposes the hollowness of the Taliban’s security claims or suggests that “the Taliban themselves, driven by their extremist beliefs, are involved in such attacks.”

Since the Taliban’s return to power, the movement claims, the safety and mental well-being of all Afghan citizens have been compromised.

The statement also asserts that none of the perpetrators of attacks against Shiites have been arrested, tried, or punished under Taliban rule.

The protesting women in the movement argue that maintaining the Taliban in power not only further suppresses women, vulnerable ethnic groups, and religious minorities but also transforms the country into a safe haven for international terrorists, turning Taliban-run Afghanistan into a “cancerous growth” threatening regional and global security and peace.

The Purple Saturdays Movement has also urged the United States to stop “appeasing, whitewashing, and maintaining the Taliban in power under the guise of engagement”. They have asked the US to support an alternative government that is “legitimate, democratic, and decentralized.”

Responsibility for the attack on the Imam Zaman Mosque worshippers in Guzara Herat, which resulted in six deaths including a child, was claimed by ISIS.