Terrorism

Taliban, ISIL increasingly turning Afghan women into 'sex slaves'

By Najibullah

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An Afghan woman carries a child on the outskirts of Herat January 19. Militant violence against Afghan women is on the rise, observers say. [Aref Karimi/AFP]

KABUL -- Taliban and "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) terrorists have murdered, enslaved or otherwise victimised dozens of Afghan women over the past few months, observers say.

"Cases of militants targeting women have increased," said Bilal Sediqi, a spokesman for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), citing instances of militants beating, publicly beheading and murdering women.

"In the past two weeks more than 20 women have been victimised in Afghanistan," he told Salaam Times February 28.

He urged Afghanistan's security and judicial institutions to continue their efforts to arrest the perpetrators of these crimes and to bring them to justice.

"The hostility of ISIL and the Taliban towards women is more than the animosity they have for any other segment of the society," said Mohammad Fahim, a lawyer and civil society activist in Kabul.

"Unfortunately, the Afghan people experience such cruelty on a daily basis," he told Salaam Times.

ISIL members have kidnapped about 100 women as sex slaves in the districts under their control, according to Rawand-e-Edalat (The Justice Process), an Afghan civil society organisation that defends women's rights.

The organisation held a news conference in Kabul February 19 to discuss these concerning developments.

"In addition to taking women hostage and taking advantage of them as sexual slaves, ISIL has ordered families with young daughters to hang black flags on their houses," said Hamideh Wardak, a women's rights activist and a member of Rawand-e-Edalat.

The order is meant to make such families readily visible to militants in case they want to forcibly marry the daughters or to impose restrictions on them.

Taliban atrocities against women, girls

The Taliban have been equally brutal in their treatment of women, murdering them under various pretexts, Afghan officials say.

On February 1 the Taliban murdered a woman, a mother of four, in Badakhshan Province, accusing her of co-operating with the Afghan government, said Navid Furutan, spokesman for the Badakhshan governor.

In a separate incident February 1, the Taliban gunned down a young girl in front of her family in Khambel Yaftal village, he said.

"A Taliban commander named Mulvi Saifullah had proposed to this girl several times, but every time he was denied by her and her family," Furutan told Salaam Times. "For that reason, his men shot the girl."

Late last year, on December 27, the Taliban decapitated a woman in Sar-e-Pul Province after accusing her of going to the city alone, Zabiullah Amani, spokesman for the Sar-e-Pul governor, told Salaam Times.

Memories of Taliban oppression in Kabul

"Such concepts as human rights and women's rights have no value to the Taliban," said Humayra Mohammadi, 53, a retired Afghan government employee.

She recounted what she observed during the Taliban's rule in Kabul (1996-2001).

"A Taliban commander wanted to marry a girl in our neighbourhood, but this girl was engaged to her cousin who lived in Germany," she told Salaam Times. "The Taliban beat the girl's parents so horribly that they almost died. Eventually, the family was forced to flee the house in the middle of the night and escape to Pakistan."

The Taliban "committed thousands of crimes during their rule", she said.

"All forms of violence against women, including public beheadings and [other] murders, are contrary to Islamic law and to the laws of Afghanistan," Kobra Rezayee, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Women's Affairs, told Salaam Times.

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