Women in Afghanistan have been excluded from the public sphere for about 15 months. Taliban, using vague religious pretexts have restricted women’s life and made society a hell for women. During this period, Afghan women and girls have continued to protest inside and outside the country. This time, 100 women have narrated their life under the shadow of the Taliban’s rule to the UN Security Council by sending separate letters. The authors of these letters say that these hundred letters are the suffering letters of women who, during more than a year of repression, suffocation, deprivation, and bitterness, have experienced life in the worst possible state under the rule of “the most misogynistic and despotic government of the contemporary century”. They have asked this council to immediately address the situation of women in Afghanistan.
On Monday, November 14, 100 women sent their letters to the United Nations Security Council, asking the institution to listen to the voice of Afghan women, which is a new narrative of the new reality of the country. These women say that in their letters, an attempt has been made to narrate the general situation of Afghanistan, especially the “suffering and pain of women” who have been experiencing and tolerating the “darkest days of their lives” under the control of the suffocating and deadly Taliban rule.
These women have said in their letters that they are motivated to continue their “awakening and freedom-loving” protests to send women’s voices and narratives to important global decision-making centers in addition to being reflected through the media. According to them, these letters reflect the “pitiful and regrettable” situation of women under the shadow of the Taliban’s rule.
The letters are sent on Monday, November 14, at 2:00 PM. According to a number of protesting women, these letters contain contents such as “targeted and continuous killings of women, stoning and beatings, sexual assaults, torture, and arrest, forced and underage marriages, forced hijab, mistreatment, humiliation and insulting of women, closure of girls’ schools.” “Closing of sports and amusement parks to women and massive violation of human rights” by the Taliban.
The contents of some of these letters, which have been made available to Hasht-e Subh Daily, show that women, in addition to reflecting on their personal lives, have also narrated their observations and visions of the Taliban’s treatment of women. Nargis Sadaat is one of the protesting women who sent her letter to Hasht-e Subh, writing that the purpose of her protest is to support the slogan “Freedom, Bread and Work”. In her letter, she has said to the Security Council that the most dangerous day of the year for her was August 13 of this year. When they went to the street with the slogans “We women are aware, we hate Taliban”. In her letter, it is stated that she was faced with a terrible scene on this day. Based on the claim of this letter, the Taliban shot directly at them. In this letter, she has claimed that on August 13th, she and her comrade received wounds and were held captive by the intelligence of the Taliban group for four hours.
In her letter, this protesting woman has claimed that she was continuously chased and threatened by the Taliban. In this letter, she has also shared some short examples of her views with the UN Security Council. In part of this letter, it is stated: “One day for the work I had, to human resources the name of the entity is not mentioned for security reasons, I visited. I witnessed a crime there. The Taliban brutalized and beat a woman who wanted to enter the same branch. Another day, the Taliban took two women with them who were our neighbors and beat their men. Also, one day, I witnessed the women not being allowed to enter passenger cars, they made everyone get off the cars and said why you don’t have Muharram, and they waited on the road for hours.” In her letter, she has asked the United Nations Security Council to save women from the “hostage” of the Taliban and not allow this group to enter into political deals with the world by abusing women’s rights.
Samira (pseudonym) is one of the protesting girls in Panjshir. In her letter, she has claimed that after several months of threats and house arrest by the Taliban intelligence, she was taken with her father to one of the districts of this province. In this letter, it is narrated that the Taliban asked the daughter and father to “spy” for them in exchange for their release. In her letter, it is also claimed that the Taliban said that if they do not obey, “she and his family members will be harassed in the worst possible way”. In her letter sent to the UN Security Council, this protesting girl has claimed that she lives underground and has cut off all her relations with the protesters and civil activists. In this letter, she has said that there is no hope for the freedom and life of women under the shadow of the Taliban.
In this letter, Samira has narrated the bad situation of human rights and the harassment of the people by the Taliban. She and the other authors of these 100 letters have asked the United Nations Security Council not to recognize the Taliban and have emphasized that this group has isolated women and denied them their basic rights as a human. They have further claimed and accused the Taliban as of giving shelter to terrorist groups in Afghanistan. In their letters, these women have also warned of the serious threats of the Taliban to the security of the region and the world.
Meanwhile, the women are sending 100 letters to the United Nations Security Council, who previously protested against the Taliban’s widespread violation of human rights, especially women’s rights, in its meeting on Thursday last week. The General Assembly of the United Nations Security Council said that if the Taliban do not respect human rights and do not form a comprehensive government, they will not be recognized.
In the meantime, Fawzia Wahdat, one of the organizers of the program to send 100 letters to the Security Council, told Hasht-e Subh: “In these 100 letters, women and girls have narrated stories that reflect the crimes of the Taliban.” “Women have written these crimes that happened to themselves or happened to their family members and friends.”
Regarding the purpose of sending these letters, Ms. Wahdat says: “We have realistically narrated all the crimes of the Taliban that the people have observed and experienced are facing every day and the situation in Afghanistan as it is in practice, including a narrative. “We have reflected on the killings of civilians, and women and widespread violations of human rights by the Taliban.”
This is while the Taliban continues to impose restrictions on women, in addition to closing women’s bathrooms, blocking women’s amusement parks, and prohibiting them from entering restaurants without Muharram, they have also warned shopkeepers to cover female mannequins with hijab. Images of these mannequins have been provided to Hasht-e Subh, which show that some of their faces are covered with masks and hijabs, while others are covered with sheets.
The Taliban’s Ministry of Virtue Promotion announced on Wednesday, November 9, that from now on, women will not be allowed to go to amusement parks. Akif Mohajer, the spokesman of this ministry, has claimed that women did not observe hijab in the amusement parks and therefore, they have closed the parks to women. Speaking to the media, he said that during the last 15 months, efforts were made to allow women to have fun in the parks, but they did not observe the hijab.
This group continues to impose restrictions on women, in a new move they have also closed the gates of sports clubs to women. The spokesperson of the Taliban’s Ministry of Virtue Promotion told to AFP: “Gyms are closed for women because their trainers are men and some of these gyms were co-gender.” The Taliban still forbade women from going to public women’s bathrooms and called it illegal from the point of view of Sharia. Akif Mohajer, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Virtue Promotion of the Group, said in a conversation with the DW news agency: “According to a number of people’s complaints, women’s public bathrooms have been blocked throughout Afghanistan as Sharia does not allow it.” He further added, “we have received reports that the nature of using women’s bathrooms in the same way that men used the same bathroom is not correct from the point of view of Sharia, and it is still wrong for women to go to the public bathroom in public.”
This is despite the fact that women in Afghanistan go to women’s bathrooms more, especially in the winter season. They go to these baths without make-up and wearing hijab. The main reason why women go to the bathroom is that most of the bathrooms in residential houses are not connected to the heating system. The culture of men and women going to public baths has been popular in big cities for a long time.
So far, the Taliban have not reacted to these letters being sent to the United Nations Security Council, but the group had previously said that they respect women’s rights in the framework of the values of Islamic Sharia.
Amin Kawa-Senior Reporter and Analyst, Hasht-e Subh Daily