A "suffocating" Taliban crackdown on human rights is destroying the lives of Afghan women and girls,' Amnesty International has warned.
Since returning to power almost one year ago, the radical group has systematically violated women’s and girls’ rights to education, work, and free movement, Amnesty International said in a report published on July 26.
The international community has refused to recognize the Taliban's rule, demanding it respect human rights and show tolerance for other groups. The United States and its allies have cut off billions in development funds and froze billions in Afghan national assets.
Despite initially attempting to present itself as a more moderate force compared to its first stint in power in 1996-2001, the Taliban formed an all-male government and banned girls from attending school from seventh grade, imposed all-covering dress that leaves only the eyes visible, and restricted women's access to work.
Amnesty said the Taliban has also decimated protections for those facing domestic violence, detained women and girls for minor violations, and triggered a surge in child marriages.
The report -- titled Death In Slow Motion: Women and Girls Under Taliban Rule -- also documented how women who peacefully protested the increasingly oppressive rules have been threatened, arrested, detained, tortured, and forcibly disappeared.
“Less than one year after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, their draconian policies are depriving millions of women and girls of their right to lead safe, free, and fulfilling lives,” said Amnesty's Agnes Callamard.
“Taken together, these policies form a system of repression that discriminates against women and girls in almost every aspect of their lives,” the report said. “This suffocating crackdown against Afghanistan’s female population is increasing day by day.”
The report comprises the results of a nine-month investigation conducted from September 2021 to June 2022 and included a visit to Afghanistan by the group's researchers back in March. They interviewed 90 women and 11 girls between 14 and 74 years old across the country.
Among them were women detained for protesting who described torture at the hands of Taliban guards, including beatings and threats of death.
One woman told Amnesty that guards beat her and other women on the breasts and between the legs “so that we couldn’t show the world.” She said one told her, “I can kill you right now, and no one would say anything.”
Amnesty said Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian crisis has deprived women and girls of education and job prospects. The report documented cases of forced marriages of women and girls to Taliban members -- under pressure by the Taliban member or by the women’s families.
Amnesty urged the international community to take action to protect Afghan women and girls.
“If the international community fails to act, it will be abandoning women and girls in Afghanistan, and undermining human rights everywhere,” Callamard said.