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Afghan women set afire for 'bad cooking', used as sex slaves by Taliban: Lawyer

Afghan women have taken the Taliban’s claims that they will respect their rights and allow them to hold jobs and to go to schools and colleges with deep scepticism.
Najla Ayoubi also said the Taliban force families to marry their young daughters to their fighters. (AP File Photo)
Published on Aug 21, 2021 12:58 PM IST
By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

Afghan women are being tortured and killed by the Taliban even after the hardline Islamist group's assurance that they will respect their rights and allow them to work and be educated in accordance with Islam, a former judge from Afghanistan has said. Najla Ayoubi told Sky News that she has been speaking to women in Afghanistan and has received examples of "bad behaviour and violence against women”. Ayoubi said one woman was "put on fire because she was accused of bad cooking for Taliban fighters" in northern Afghanistan.

"They are forcing people to give them food and cook them food. Also, there are so many young women are being in the past few weeks being shipped into neighbouring countries in coffins to be used as sex slaves,” Ayoubi, who lives in the US after ‘fleeing for my life’ from the Taliban, said. "They also force families to marry their young daughters to Taliban fighters. I don't see where is the promise that they think women should be going to work when we are seeing all of these atrocities."

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Ayoubi, now the chief of the coalition and global programmes at Every Woman Treaty which campaigns to end violence against women, said she had to escape from the Taliban for speaking for women's rights and described life under the Taliban as a "nightmare”. She was in a "powerful position" the day before it took power but was reduced to "nothing in the society". The lawyer said she had to be accompanied by her neighbour's four-year-old boy to the grocery shop because she is a woman.


The Taliban’s claims that they will respect women’s rights and allow them to hold jobs and to go to schools and colleges have been met with deep scepticism. Several women journalists have said they have not been allowed to work by the Taliban. "I wanted to return to work, but unfortunately they did not allow me to work. They told me that the regime has changed and you cannot work," Shabnam Khan Dawran, an anchor at RTA (Radio Television Afghanistan), was quoted as saying by Tolo News.

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Anyone who is going to form a government in the future cannot ignore the women of Afghanistan. “We will not relinquish our right to education, the right to work, and our right to political and social participation," Fariha Esar, a human rights activist, was quoted as saying by television channel Tolo News. 

Ayoubi, who was born in Afghanistan and educated before the Taliban’s rise in the early 1990s, was the first woman judge in her home province before the group seized control. She played a large part in the constitution-making process of Afghanistan after the Taliban were ousted in 2001. She sought asylum in the US after the Taliban threatened her.

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