A female Afghan refugee using the name “Muskan” told India’s News18 on Saturday that Taliban fighters are raping both live women and the dead bodies of their victims.
News18’s account described Muskan as a “girl” who left her job in Afghanistan and fled to New Delhi after “her life was threatened by a Jihadist group.” The article did not say exactly when she left Afghanistan.
“When we were there, we received numerous warnings. If you go to work, you are under threat, your family is under threat. After one warning, they would stop giving any warning,” Muskan said.
“They rape dead bodies too. They don’t care whether the person is dead or alive. Can you imagine this?” she added.
Muskan claimed the Taliban is seizing women from “each household” in towns they conquered and planned a “horrible destiny” for any women suspected of working for the U.S.-supported Afghan federal government.
News18 noted that Shabana Basij-Rasikh, founder of Afghanistan’s only all-girls boarding school, burned the records of her students last week to protect them from the Taliban.
Basij-Rasikh sadly recalled building schools for girls from scratch after Afghanistan was liberated from the Taliban in 2002.
“Thousands of Afghan girls were invited to go to the nearest public school to participate in a placement test because the Taliban had burned all female students’ records to erase their existence. I was one of those girls,” she said, mourning the necessity of burning records today not to erase the memory of her students, but to protect them.
“My students, colleagues, and I are safe with enormous gratitude to our ever vibrant global village. The time to appropriately express my gratitude will come. But right now there are many who aren’t or increasingly don’t feel safe. I’m broken and devastated for them,” she said.
British opposition leaders on Saturday cited reports that Taliban fighters are beating, raping, and murdering women attempting to flee Afghanistan. The Labour Party urged Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to take more aggressive steps to protect the evacuees.
Thirty-three-year-old Kubra Behroz, who joined the Afghan National Army in 2011, told the UK Telegraph last week that she and other female soldiers fear they will be “kidnapped, imprisoned, and raped” for having served in the national military.
“They say the Taliban will cut off our heads if they find us,” Behroz said, quoting a report from her brother that the Taliban beheaded two women in Ghazi province because they were police officers four years ago.
Behroz explained the Afghan government pushed women to join the security services because “it is an Islamic country, and we need female soldiers to conduct house and body searches.”
The recruiting drive faltered because women who joined were harassed and accused of prostitution because they stayed away from home so much. Female recruitment targets were cut from ten percent of the military to 3 percent by 2020, and the actual number of female recruits was only about 1.3 percent at the time of the Taliban takeover.
The Telegraph explained that Taliban fighters use rape as a recruiting tool because, under an Afghan custom called zina, girls are generally forced to marry their rapists.
Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), told CNN on Sunday she has heard reports of Taliban militants “taking little girls away from their families, or demanding that they hand over their daughters.”
Anderlini said the victims were often “prepubescent or adolescent girls,” desired by Taliban fighters for “forced marriage or rape.”
Taliban officials claim their new regime will be more respectful of women’s rights than the previous Taliban government was. Anderlini suggested the atrocities against women reported during the Taliban’s march to Kabul could have been the work of “ragtag” elements that “aren’t necessarily connected to the leadership,” or the leadership could simply be lying to Western journalists about its plans for the women of Afghanistan.