Social Issues

Taliban arrest two women activists in Afghanistan

Kabul, Feb 3 (EFE).- The Taliban security forces have arrested two women activists in Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, triggering criticism over the shrinking freedom of expression in the country and rising arrests by the Islamist regime since it seized power in August.

The two activists “have been arrested by the Taliban government security forces. Mural Ayar last day and Dr. Zahra Mohammadi today,” Fouzia Wahdat, member of the Powerful Women Movement of Afghanistan, told EFE.

Both activists had attended a recent protest held in Kabul over women’s educational and labor rights, which have clashed with the norms established by the all-powerful Taliban ministry of propagation of virtue and prevention of vice.

The arrest was condemned by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, which urged the government to release the activists and reveal the reason behind their detention.

“Urgent information sought from Interior Ministry today by UNAMA on latest reported detentions over last 24 hrs by the Taliban of a further two women activists in Kabul and repeat the call for all disappeared women activists & relatives to be released,” the organization tweeted.

However, the government has not commented on the arrests so far.

The arrest comes after on Monday security forces detained two journalists of the local TV channel Ariana News.

After widespread criticism by rights groups and journalists’ bodies, the two journalists were released on Wednesday, although the reason behind their arrest remains unclear.

Women have seen their rights shrinks after the Taliban came to power, with many of them unable to return to their jobs and high-schools remaining closed for girl students.

On Wednesday, when some public universities reopened, the Taliban for the first time allowed girl students access to classroom, although with different timetables from their male peers.

Women’s right to education has been one of the main conditions put forth by the international community for recognizing the Taliban government, which is expected to distance itself from policies adopted during their first regime (1996-2001), when girls were banned from attending school and women largely confined indoors.

Mohammadi had insisted an interview with EFE in December that “we are not the women of 20 years ago, who used to sit at home,” after leading a protest against the Islamist regime. EFE


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