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Four women activists found dead in northern Afghanistan – 11/06/2021 – World

Four Afghan women, initially identified as human rights activists, were found dead in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, in northern Afghanistan, a spokesman for the Taliban, a fundamentalist group that regained power in the country, reported on Saturday. In August.

So far, two suspects have been detained, according to Qari Sayed Khosti of the Interior Ministry. The victims were not identified by the Taliban, but sources close to them told the AFP news agency that at least one was a women’s rights activist.

On the Persian service of the British BBC network, residents reported that the women were friends and were kidnapped near the airport in the city, which is the capital of the province of Balkh. On October 27, the bodies were reportedly found in a moat on the outskirts of town.

An Afghan activist living in Germany reported that one of the women was Forouzan Safi, 29, a university professor and activist. Forouzan’s father, Abdul Rahman, told the media that his daughter left home after contacting people who identified themselves as representatives of human rights organizations.

The family had not heard from her again, and four days later her body was found. Forouzan’s sister Rita, an Afghan doctor, said she recognized her at the morgue by her clothing. “The bullets destroyed her body. There were wounds everywhere: in the head, heart, chest, kidneys and legs,” he told Briton The Guardian.

Also according to family members, the alleged call received by Forouzan may have tried to deceive her with the hope of a request for asylum in Germany, something that the university professor had been pleading for. In her bag, found later, were documents such as her university degree. Her husband, also an activist, left Afghanistan due to threats.

No more details are available on the identities of the other three dead women whose relatives have yet to be found.

The Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist group, promoted a swift return to power after 20 years of occupation by Western troops in Afghanistan. When they ruled the Central Asian country for the first time, in 1996 and 2001, they imposed a recognized repression of the rights of women – who could not, for example, study.

When it regained power, the group tried to adopt a moderate narrative, something little credited by the international community. In about three months in power, the Taliban have already suppressed protests by women and resumed medieval punishments for those accused of crimes, for example.

Out there

Organizations have pleaded for the group to change its stance and placed the request as a requirement for possible bilateral agreements or humanitarian aid. The secretary general of the United Nations, the Portuguese António Guterres, has already urged the Taliban to allow women to remain active in the labor market, even as the country is going through a serious economic crisis.

On Thursday (4), Human Rights Watch released a statement in which it accuses the Taliban of prohibiting Afghan women from working with humanitarian aid in the country, which would be contributing to the aggravation of the humanitarian crisis. According to the international NGO, mapping showed that women have only been allowed into humanitarian agencies in 3 of the country’s 43 provinces.

Employees in this sector would be facing restrictions such as the requirement that a family man accompany them to work, detailed HRW. “The Taliban’s severe restrictions are preventing desperately needed aid from reaching Afghans, especially women, girls and families headed by women,” said Heather Barr, director of women’s rights at the NGO.

Since the return of the fundamentalist group, many Afghans have been afraid to work and face retaliation from the Taliban. They are only able to carry out humanitarian activity if they receive a written agreement from the local authorities, which, in theory, keeps them safer.

A study released in September by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) estimated that up to 97% of the Afghan population could be below the poverty line in 2022, unless a response to the political and economic crises is urgently structured.

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