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Taliban ask for list of girls above 15, widows under 45 to be married to their fighters: Reports

Taliban's latest diktat comes as it gains control of many key districts and border posts with Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan after US and Nato troops complete their pullout from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years.
The Taliban has promised for them to be married to their fighters and taken to Pakistan's Waziristan.(Reuters Photo)
Published on Jul 16, 2021 11:22 AM IST
Written by Meenakshi Ray

The Taliban, fighting with Afghanistan forces to take control of a large part of the war-torn country, has issued a statement ordering local religious leaders to give them a list of girls over 15 years of age and widows under 45, reports have said. According to reports, the Taliban has promised for them to be married to their fighters and taken to Pakistan's Waziristan, where they will be converted to Islam and reintegrated.

"All imams and mullahs in captured areas should provide the Taliban with a list of girls above 15 and widows under 45 to be married to Taliban fighters," the letter issued in the name of the Taliban's Cultural Commission said, according to the Sun.

Also read | Taliban offers Afghan govt 3-month ceasefire in exchange for release of prisoner

The latest diktat comes as the Taliban has gained control of many key districts and border posts with Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan after US and Nato troops complete their pullout from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years. Afghan security forces and military have put up little or no resistance after often being left without supplies or reinforcements.

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Before this, women in Afghanistan's northeastern province of Takhar were asked not to step out from their homes alone and men were asked to grow beards as they also set dowry regulations for girls as the Taliban are enforcing their version of Islamic law.

Also read | Afghan vice president accuses Pak Air Force of trying to help Taliban

Under the Taliban rule before being ousted after the US-led invasion in 2001, women were barred from going to school, work outside the home or leave their house without a male escort in Afghanistan. Violators were humiliated publically and beaten up by the Taliban's religious police.

Now, Afghanistan elders say the Taliban will take away their daughters and forcefully marry them and turn them into slaves. "Since the Taliban took over, we feel depressed. At home, we can’t speak loudly, can’t listen to music and can’t send women to the Friday market. They are asking about family members. The [Taliban] sub-commander said you should not keep girls over the age of 18; it’s sinful, they must get married," Haji Rozi Baig, an Afghan elder, was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.

"I’m sure the next day they will come and take my 23- and 24-year-old daughters and marry them by force," Baig said.

Also read | India suggests 3-point Afghanistan road map at SCO Group meeting

The Associated Press reported that 140 civil society and faith leaders from the United States, Afghanistan and other countries “dedicated to the education and rights of women in Afghanistan” asked President Joe Biden to call for a UN peacekeeping force “to ensure that the cost of US military withdrawal from Afghanistan is not paid for in the lives of schoolgirls.”

In the May 14 letter, they also urged the US to increase humanitarian and development aid to Afghanistan “as an important security strategy” to strengthen women and girls and religious minorities like the Hazaras.

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