Afghan women need your solidarity

In December 2021, after the Taliban had regained power in Afghanistan, women protested the loss of their basic rights and demanded an end to sexist discrimination. PHOTO: Ali Khara / Reuters
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When the U.S. abandoned its imperialist aims in Afghanistan and pulled out hastily on August 30, 2021, women in the country warned of the dire consequences of a state ruled by the misogynist, reactionary Taliban. “Wait and see” said the U.S. State Department, expressing faith in negotiations with the Taliban and implying it was a moderate alternative to the Islamic State (ISIS).

To no one’s surprise, the Taliban lived up to every expectation of brutality and repression, particularly against women and girls. Floggings, imprisonment and public executions are used to quell dissent. But courageous resistance continues as shown in the appeal below from the Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women. This and other statements by the group can be found at

Today, Afghan women live under the most misogynistic regime, where they are deprived of all their human and civil rights. For this reason, Afghan women activists formed their own protest movement after the Taliban rule in August 2021, which has been organizing women’s protests in the cities of Kabul, Jalalabad, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Bamiyan with the slogans (bread, work, freedom).

When women protest and demonstrate against the violation of their rights, the Taliban police brutally suppress them, beat them and threaten them with prison and death. Taliban security forces prevent journalists from filming, taking pictures and reporting the Taliban’s violent behavior with protesting women.

Taliban intelligence identifies women activists and participants in demonstrations, arrests them during demonstrations, at the end of protests or later from their homes and imprisons and tortures them in their official or private prisons. (The new report of the United Nations September 2022 confirms the existence of private Taliban prisons and the torture of prisoners.)

The Taliban usually attack the houses of protesting women at night. After arresting them, they transfer them to unknown places and then deny the responsibility of the arrest and attack. It is not known how many women protesters and freedom fighters are imprisoned in the official and private prisons of the Taliban and in what condition they are, because domestic and foreign human rights organizations and the families of prisoners do not have access to them. Some women who were released from Taliban prisons spoke of torture, sexual assault, threats to kill family members, lack of access to a lawyer, and lack of communication with family members.

In addition to dozens of women fighters and protesters who are in terrible Taliban prisons, or tens of others who have been killed by people affiliated with the Taliban, there are currently hundreds of other fighting women as socialist, secular, feminist, civil society activists, women’s rights defenders, journalists, teachers, university and high school students, and housewives under the prosecution of the Taliban and they are forced to live in hiding. While the intelligence of the Taliban is in control of all the cities and regions of Afghanistan, it is possible to identify their whereabouts at any moment, and for this reason, the lives of wanted protesting women are in serious danger.

Therefore, the demand of the “Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women” from women fighters and progressive forces in the U.S., Latin America, Australia, Europe and other countries of the world is as follows:

  •  Forming an International Committee for the Defense of Afghan Women Protesters
  •  Requesting support from major international organizations defending women’s rights and human rights in order to identify women imprisoned in official and private prisons of the Taliban
  •  Launching an international campaign for the release of protesting women from Taliban prisons
  •  Lobbying for the protection of wanted and endangered women in Afghanistan
  •  Creating international women’s solidarity with women fighters in Afghanistan
  •  Collecting financial aid for the families of imprisoned and wanted women

— Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women, Kabul, Afghanistan, October 2022

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