The Taliban has said it has a right to crack down on dissent and to jail protesters amid international concerns about the whereabouts of two women activists who were reportedly detained earlier this week in Kabul.
While denying that any women were being held, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP on January 22 that the extremist group in power in Afghanistan had the right "to arrest and detain dissidents or those who break the law."
The comments came after the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan called on the Taliban to provide information relating to the whereabouts of Tamana Zaryabi Paryani and Parwana Ibrahimkhel, who were reportedly taken from their homes as part of a roundup of participants in recent demonstrations for women's rights.
A video posted on social media showed Paryani pleading for help as she claimed Taliban militants had arrived at her front door on January 19.
Neither Paryani nor Ibrahimkhel, who was reportedly detained the same day, have been heard from since.
On January 21, Amnesty International urged the Taliban to investigate the abduction of a senior female prison official who has been missing for more than three months and to release her if she is in the militants' custody.
Human rights defenders accuse the Taliban, which returned to power in mid-August, of committing serious violations, particularly over the lack of rights of women to education, employment, and participation in political and social life.