Conflicts & War

Taliban say no information on missing Afghan women activists

Kabul, Feb 7 (EFE).- The Taliban government Monday said they had no information on two Afghan women activists who went missing after the Islamists allegedly arrested them last week.

Local media reports blamed Taliban security forces for the disappearance of Zahra Mohammadi and Mursal Ayar last week.

It brought to four the number of women who have disappeared since the Islamists seized power in Afghanistan in August last year.

“We said it before that the woman (Zahra Mohammadi) has not been arrested by the Islamic Emirate intelligence forces. Currently, we do not have any female prisoners,” Taliban intelligence spokesperson Khalil Hamraz told EFE.

The interior ministry of the defacto Afghan government also dismissed the media claims about the arrest of women activists.

Deborah Lyons, the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), met with Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Kabir on Sunday to seek their whereabouts.

Lyons conveyed “deepening concern about the wellbeing of ‘disappeared’ women activists,” the UNAMA tweeted.

“Kabir committed to seek answers. We appreciate this and await update. World support to Afghanistan is eroded without respect for all Afghan’s rights.”

The Netherlands and Germany missions in Kabul also expressed their concerns.

“We share the concerns of Deborah Lyons and Afghans in Afghanistan and around the world for these brave women, who disappeared after making use of their right to Freedom of speech,” said the missions in identical tweets.

“An investigation and answers regarding their whereabouts and wellbeing are urgently needed.”

The disappearance of Ayar and Mohammadi came after Taliban security forces arrested two journalists from the local Ariana News television network last Monday.

The arrest of the TV reporters triggered a wave of criticism from various international organizations, calling it an attack on press freedom in Afghanistan.

Women have seen their rights pushed back after the Taliban returned to power.

Many female workers have not returned to their jobs, and secondary schools have been closed for female Afghan students.

The right to female education has been one of the conditions for recognizing the Taliban government by the international community.

They hope that allowing females to work and study would differentiate the new Taliban regime from the harsh rules they imposed during their rule from 1996 to 2001.

The then Taliban rulers prohibited girls from attending school and confined women to their homes.

“We are not the women of twenty years ago, who sat at home (as they were forced to do) by the previous Taliban regime,” activist Mohammadi said in an earlier interview with EFE, leading a demonstration against the Islamists in Kabul. EFE


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