Friday, February 3, 2023

Taliban storms Kabul apartment, arrested activist, his sisters

KABUL, Afghanistan ( Associated Press) – The Taliban stormed an apartment in Kabul, broke down the door and arrested a women’s rights activist and her three sisters, an eyewitness said on Thursday. A Taliban statement recently blamed the incident on women’s protests, saying that insults to Afghan values ​​would no longer be tolerated.

The activist, Tamana Zarabi Parayani, was among about 25 women who took part in anti-Taliban protests on Sunday against the mandatory Islamic headscarf, or hijab, for women. A neighborhood man who witnessed the arrest said about 10 armed men claiming to be from Taliban intelligence conducted the raid on Wednesday night.

Shortly before she and her sisters were taken away, footage of Paryani was posted on social media, in which she looked frightened and breathless and shouted for help, saying the Taliban were banging on her door. Were.

“Please help, Taliban have come to our house. , , Only my sisters are at home,” she can be heard saying in the footage. Other female voices are also crying in the background. “I can’t open the door. Please . . . HELP!”

Associated Press footage from the scene on Thursday showed the apartment’s front door, made of metal and painted reddish brown, left dented and slightly ajar. The residents of a nearby apartment did not want to speak to the journalists and ran inside their house. An external security door made of steel slats was sealed and locked, making it impossible to enter Paryani’s apartment.

Eyewitnesses said that the raid took place at around 8 pm. The armed men went up to the third floor of the Kabul apartment complex where Paryani lives and began banging on the front door and ordering her to open the door.

When he refused, they kicked repeatedly till the door opened, the witness said. “They took four women, they were all sisters,” said the witness, adding that one of the four workers was Paryani.

The witness spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from the Taliban.

General Mobin Khan, spokesman for the Taliban-appointed police in Kabul, tweeted that Paryani’s social video post was a fabricated drama. Taliban intelligence spokesman Khalid Hamraj neither confirmed nor denied the arrest.

However, he tweeted that “insults to the religious and national values ​​of the Afghan people are no longer tolerated” – a reference to Sunday’s protest, during which protesters appeared to be burning a white burqa, wearing the traditional head-to-toe woman Apparel included. Which only opens a trap for the eyes.

Hamraz accused rights activists of defaming Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers and their security forces for seeking refuge in the West.

Since coming to power in mid-August, the Taliban have imposed sweeping sanctions, many of them directed at women. Women have been banned from many jobs outside the fields of health and education, their access to education has been restricted beyond sixth grade and ordered to wear the hijab. However, the Taliban have stopped wearing the burqa, which was mandatory when they first ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s.

At Sunday’s demonstration in Kabul, women held placards demanding equal rights and shouted: “Justice!” He lit a white burqa and said that he cannot be forced to wear a hijab. Organizers of the demonstration said that Paryani took part in the protest, which was dispersed after the Taliban fired tear gas at a crowd of women.

Parayani belongs to a rights group known as the “Seekers of Justice”, which organized several demonstrations in Kabul, including on Sunday. The members of the group have not spoken publicly about his arrest but have been sharing the video of Paryani.

New York-based Human Rights Watch criticized the action, saying that since its capture of Afghanistan five months ago, the Taliban have “withdrawn the rights of women and girls, including access to education and employment for many.” Including stopping.”

“Women’s rights activists have held several protests; The Taliban has responded by banning unauthorized protests,” the watchdog said in a statement after Sunday’s protests.

The Taliban have targeted Afghanistan’s beleaguered rights groups as well as journalists, with local and international television crews covering demonstrations who are often detained and sometimes beaten up.

Also on Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement asking the Taliban to investigate a recent attack on Zaki Kais, a documentary filmmaker who said two armed men, who killed themselves as Kabul police officers Identified as , broke into their house and beat them up. According to CPJ’s Asia program coordinator Steven Butler, one tried to stab him.

“The Taliban rulers of Afghanistan should immediately launch an investigation to identify the perpetrators of the attack on journalist Zaki Qais and bring him to justice,” Butler said. “The Taliban’s continued silence on these repeated attacks on journalists undermines any remaining credibility of promises to allow independent media to continue operating.”

Last week the CPJ sought information about an attack on another Kabul-based journalist, Noor Mohamed Hashmi, deputy director of the non-profit Salaam Afghanistan Media Organization, who was beaten up by three unidentified men.

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