Afghan Women Imprisoned by Taliban: A Call to Action
At a time when media is heavily censored, very few news and reports are able to escape the censors, and only become widely known when the current rulers wish them to. Particularly, news related to the various prisons and detention centers that have been established to detain and torture protestors is rarely heard. Unofficial sources from within the country have provided alarming reports about Pol Charkhi prison and the prisons of the Intelligence and Ministry of Interior. These reports suggest that Mullah Baradar‘s offices are not answerable to other authorities of this group, and the most extreme forms of violence are inflicted upon those arrested by them. Furthermore, the offices affiliated to Sirajuddin Haqqani do not permit any kind of monitoring. The intelligence agency has become a government within the government, with each directorate carrying out its own program, ranging from arrest, to torture, and to illegal trials conducted away from the oversight of legal and judicial institutions.
The arrest, imprisonment, and torture of citizens has been targeted at various groups, yet some of the most vulnerable victims of this harsh treatment are women. This includes women who have been arrested for protesting against the oppressive policies of the regime, as well as those who have been victims of domestic violence and have been incarcerated without trial. Although there is no exact data available on the number of these women, unofficial sources suggest that hundreds have been arrested and tortured simply for protesting.
Women who have been incarcerated and arrested recount harrowing tales of physical and psychological torture. One form of psychological torture for women is their confinement in a male–dominated environment, surrounded by male cells and constantly hearing the sounds of torture. Furthermore, the lack of female officers in prisons exacerbates the psychological torture for women, leaving them vulnerable to male tormentors. There are various types of physical torture, but the most heinous of them is the punching and kicking of women‘s hidden body parts, making it impossible to report the abuse if any inspection committee visits. It is ironic that these perpetrators, who consider it illegal to even look at a woman or speak to her, are the same ones who punch and kick the most sensitive parts of women‘s bodies in order to break their spirit and soul.
As long as security and intelligence agencies act without court order to detain the accused, torture houses will remain operational and continue. The solution is that detention centers and prisons should be constantly monitored by international legal organizations, otherwise arbitrary arrests will continue to instill fear and terror in people‘s lives, and organized human rights violations will become commonplace. Afghan women should not be left to the mercy of the world‘s most misogynistic terrorist group, as these violations are not only directed at those arrested, but also to spread terror among the rest and discourage them from asserting their rights in the future.