KUNDUZ -- Taliban militants gang-raped an eight-year-old girl in Takhar Province, say local officials.
The incident took place September 18 in Qarooq village of Khwaja Ghar District, which is located in an area under Taliban control.
The girl was on her way to school in the morning when she was taken to a forest and then gang-raped by five Taliban fighters, said Mullah Muhammad Omar, the district governor of Khwaja Ghar.
"The child's health is in a grave condition as the Taliban didn't allow her family to take her to the hospital," he said.
"These individuals have threatened her family that if they took the child to the clinic for treatment or to the district center, and they disclosed their names, all of them would be killed," Omar added.
Muhammad Jawad Hejri, a spokesman for the Takhar governor, confirmed the incident and said the provincial government has sent a delegation to Khwaja Ghar District to further assess the incident.
"We are waiting for the delegation to submit their report to the governor's office," said Hejri.
"We are following up this incident," said Gen. Abdul Khalil Aseer, a spokesman for the Takhar police.
Breach of human rights
Sayed Hafizullah Fetrat, the regional director of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) based in Kunduz city, said that no one from the victim's family has yet to refer the case to them.
"The Independent Human Rights Commission has a clear position about the breach of human rights, including sexual assaults, and it is our duty to seriously investigate the case," said Fetrat.
"The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the law that prohibits harassing women and children are crystal clear about this, and the judicial and legal institutions have the responsibility to implement the provisions of the Afghan penal code," he said.
"Women and young girls always suffer violence by local strongmen, the Taliban and local commanders," said Fazila Habibi, a women's rights activist in Takhar Province.
"This shocking incident shows that all the perpetrators assault women and harass them to the extent they can," she said.
Habibi called on judicial and legal institutions to seriously investigate the incident and punish the perpetrators.