The Taliban Raids Afghan Women’s Rights Activists
The Taliban is well-known for their fundamentalist Islamic beliefs and their strict regime in Afghanistan, particularly against women. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August of 2021, mere days after the US withdrew its troops, the country’s human rights issues worsened as freedoms, education, and health rights were rescinded. Thousands of Afghans evacuated, but many others were left behind at risk. The new Taliban-led government implemented policies that severely restricted women’s rights. This includes employment restrictions, educational limitations, and being forced to wear a hijab or headscarf. However, this has led to more political unrest, protests, and Taliban retaliation as the country continues to remain in turmoil. One such incident is the raids launched by women’s rights activists.
Tamana Zaryabi Paryani, who participated in an anti-Taliban protest that advocated against the requirement for women to wear headscarves, was abducted on January 19, 2022, from her home along with her three sisters. Ten armed men, who claimed to be of the Taliban’s intelligence department, invaded Paryani’s home on the basis that the Afghan people’s religious and national values were insulted at the protests.
“It might seem hard to understand why the Taliban would have such a violent reaction to 25 women standing on the sidewalk, protesting peacefully. But their fears make sense when you see how powerful and brave these women are, to be stepping out again and again even in the face of escalating violence by the Taliban,” Heather Barr, associate director of the women’s division at Human Rights Watch, said, according to the Guardian.
Afghan women’s rights activist Parwana Ibrahimkhel also went missing days after taking part in the rally in Kabul.
A few weeks later, Zahra Mohammadi and Mursal Ayar went missing, along with several relatives of the four female protestors.
A video that was captured moments before Paryani was detained went viral on social media, depicting her screaming for help and shouting that the Taliban were banging on her door. These raids have been only instances of Taliban actions instilling fear in women. According to several activists, some of them have had to change safe houses daily and regularly change their cell phone numbers to avoid arrest.