By: Elyas Mirzaeey
When a crime takes place, the first step a victim normally takes is to file a complaint at a police station. Then the police investigate and later refer the case to the judiciary to deliver justice, regardless of the victim’s gender.
But in Afghanistan, where women have lost almost their every basic rights under the Taliban — they also have lost the right to file complaints at the police stations.
Women said the Taliban’s police stations in Kabul city are refusing to receive their complaints even if they fall victims to domestic violence and other crimes. The unwritten restriction, which has not been officially announced but being imposed, puts women even at greater risk of domestic violence in Kabul and elsewhere in the country.
Nikbakht, a woman who lives in Kabul, said she went to the Taliban’s 18th police district to file a complaint against her husband and his family who abused, beat and forced her to leave the house.
But the police didn’t accept her complaint because she is a woman, telling her to bring a man. Nikhbakh said the Taliban summoned her husband only after she brought her brother. Nikabkht alleged that her husband also assaulted her brother. All three appeared at the station with her brother’s face covered in blood.
She said she “wasn’t given any opportunity to speak” at the police station, and that the Taliban “only listened” to her husband who lied that she had left home without his consent.
“The Taliban said you’re husband is right because in Islam women aren’t allowed to put one step out of the house without her husband’s permission,” she recalled, Taliban telling her.
Nikbakht said she has been living in fear in her sister’s house for two weeks, and her husband is still threatening her over the phone. She added there are no women’s support organizations to address her and other women’s problems.
Another woman said her husband is in Pakistan, and she lives with her brother-in-laws who behave violently with her. She said she went to the Taliban’s fifth police district to complain against them. But the Taliban told her to obey her brother-in-laws because her husband is away. She said nobody listened to her cries.
“I don’t know how their wives and daughters live in the houses of these oppressors,” she said about the Taliban.
Amina is the third woman who said the Taliban’s seventh police district refused to receive her complaint against her husband because he is a Taliban member. She said her husband was freed from the prison when the former government collapsed, and joined the Taliban he had met while serving his time.
Amina said she wants to divorce her husband because he doesn’t want to leave the Taliban group. But she has been unable to even file a divorce or a complaint.
The Taliban’s Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice ordered all government offices to not allow unaccompanied women to enter their facilities, a decision that may further restrict women’s access to seek justice.
Arifa Rezayi, a women’s rights activist, said that she has also witnessed several cases of the Taliban not accepting women’s complaints. Such a policy, according to her, will increase violence against women.