By: Elyas Ahmadi
At least 45 women have been killed in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August, data compiled by Rukhshana Media shows.
The Taliban have imposed numerous restrictions on women. Millions of girls are out of school, women have been banned from travelling alone, laws aimed to protect women have been abolished, and most women haven’t been allowed to return to work.
But women’s suffering goes far beyond these restrictions.
A string of mysterious assassinations of mostly young, educated women is going on across the country, leaving dozens dead. Some women have committed suicide due to domestic violence. Explosions and Taliban shots have also caused some deaths.
Of 45, at least 25 were killed in the past one and a half months alone, Rukhshana Media has found. The killings have mainly taken place in the capital Kabul, and Kandahar, Balkh, Badghis, Bamyan, and Kapisa provinces.
Samargol, a female village representative, was assassinated in Kapisa on March 13. A decapitated body was a woman was found in Kandahar city on March 19.
Four women were killed in Badghis province.
The body of a 13-year-old girl was found in the 18th district of Kabul in October. Unknown gunmen killed Eidiyima, a female employee of the Ministry of Information and Culture in the previous government, along with her two daughters, in the seventh district of Kabul city. The body of another young girl was found in west Kabul on March 6.
Media reports said at least four young girls, including school students and a midwife, have been killed in Mazar-e-Sharif since Taliban took control of the city in August.
And the list goes on.
There has been reports of at least two women missing. One, Alia Azizi, a former police officer in Herat, and the other Mahsa, a school student in Balkh province.
The Taliban have directly been involved in some of these killings including stoning a woman and his alleged lover to death in Badakhshan in February.
But most women were killed in unclaimed attacks which have sparked fear of extrajudicial executions. Even though few arrests have been made in connection to these killings, no one has yet been convicted.
Women’s rights activists said the Taliban are behind the brutal campaign of unclaimed killings to purge dissidents including urbanized educated women who have protested against their new government and Islamist ideology since August.
“By killing young girls, the Taliban want to send a message to all women in the country: If you raise your voice, protest or oppose us, you will face a similar fate,” said Arefa Fati, a women’s right activist.
Activists said the killing of several women can be traced to the rise of domestic violence which they said has increased after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
The actual number of these deaths could be much higher because local media largely avoid reporting such incidents, fearing to provoke the Taliban who have imposed crushing restrictions on free press.
The Taliban couldn’t be reached for comment despite several attempts. But they have previously rejected their involvement in mysterious killing of women.