Conflicts & War

Taliban urged to reveal whereabouts of missing ex-Afghan woman police officer

Kabul, Jan 21 (EFE).- Rights group Amnesty International Friday urged the Taliban to probe the mysterious disappearance of a former Afghan woman police officer missing for more than three months.

Alia Azizi, a member of the ethnic Hazara community and the head of Herat women’s prison, mysteriously disappeared after she reported for duty in the western province on Oct.2, 2021.

“Despite several pleas by her family to the Taliban to investigate the case, a veil of secrecy still shrouds her disappearance,” Amnesty said in a statement.

Zaman Sultani, Amnesty International’s South Asia Researcher, noted that her family was in the dark about her whereabouts.

“Her apparent abduction takes place within the context of the Taliban illegally detaining members of the former government, journalists, and assorted critics across the country,” Sultani said.

The statement citing her brother Nazir Arefi said Azizi returned to her job at the request of the Taliban on Aug.24 last year, just nine days after the collapse of the Afghan government.

The Taliban had given her an amnesty letter, guaranteeing her safety after the Islamist militia took over Herat province.

The only information the family has received from the ruling Islamists is that she is not with the Taliban.

Her telephone has since been disconnected.

Arefi said that when the family tracked her phone conversations through the service provider, Azizi’s last communication was with the Taliban’s head of Herat prison.

“The Taliban must take immediate steps to conduct a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into this and other cases of enforced disappearance,” said Sultani.

The Amnesty statement came days after the Taliban on Jan.16 tried to silence women’s protests in Kabul, calling for the Taliban to release Azizi.

The Taliban allegedly used electric devices to shock women protesters and used pepper spray that caused protestors severe skin and eye irritation, Human Rights Watch alleged.

In September, the Taliban’s Ministry of Interior issued an order banning all demonstrations and gatherings “until a policy of demonstration is codified”.

Sultani said it was evident that the promises made by the Taliban, particularly to Afghan women and girls, were being broken.

“The Taliban must immediately end the use of unlawful force against those exercising their right to peaceful assembly.” she said.

Amnesty said it contacted the Taliban for comment but to no avail.

Azizi was among the few women who, despite the perpetual violence against women in the country, joined the former Afghan National Police.

She is a high school graduate and has more than ten years of experience working in the former police in Herat.

Amnesty International has said its investigations have documented that the Taliban had extrajudicially killed members of the former security forces, government supporters, and ethnic Hazaras across the country. EFE

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