End the suppression and detention of protesting women

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Following the series of threats, arrests, torture and killing of protesting women in Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan, on November 8, 2022, Ms. Farhat Popalzai, one of the active members of the Afghan women’s protesting movement, was arrested by the Taliban intelligence in Kabul, and so far there is no news about her fate.

According to the report of BBC Dari, quoted by Maryam Naibi, a colleague of Farhat Popelzai’s, Mrs. Farhat’s phone has been switched off since 2:00 on Tuesday, and contact with her has been cut off. The Taliban security forces and the Kabul police, as always, deny the arrest of Mrs. Popalzai, but the fact is that the Taliban, in order to hide arbitrary arrests and prevent national and international protests against their brutal treatment against women, cannot tolerate the political, civil and peaceful struggles of Afghan women.

Meanwhile, human rights organizations report the arrest of Ms. Ozra, Ms. Parwaneh, Ms. Farzia, Ms. Safia, Ms. Roheena, Ms. Asia, Ms. Zarmineh, Ms. Mahtab, Ms. Laila, Ms. Bibi Shaima, Ms. Parvin, Ms. Brishna, Ms. Tarana, Ms. Bibi Lima, Ms. Marzia, and Ms. Shaghofa in the provinces of Kabul, Herat, Laghman, and Takhar. According to their families, these activists, feminists and teachers were arrested by the Taliban and taken to unknown places in October and November on charges of participating in women’s demonstrations and street protests.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson of the Taliban, considers the struggle and resistance of the protesting women to be the plan of foreign countries in order to discredit the Taliban government, and he warns that they will not allow any movement that contradicts Islamic laws.

It should be remembered that on November 4, Ms. Zarifa Yaqoubi and four of her colleagues were arrested during a press conference in western Kabul, and their families still do not know about their condition. The United Nations delegation in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and human rights organizations and women’s rights defenders inside and outside Afghanistan demanded the immediate release of Ms. Yaqoubi and all imprisoned women.

In addition to the official prisons, the Taliban have many private prisons where they torture opponents and women protesters and deny them contact with their families, human rights organizations, or a defense lawyer.

The Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women condemns the arrest and inhumane treatment of protesting women. We call on all women’s rights organizations and individuals to put pressure on the misogynist Taliban regime to stop the arrests and torture and immediately release Ms. Zarifa Yaqoubi and her colleagues, Ms. Popalzai, and dozens of other protesting women in the terrible prisons of the Taliban. We expect them to declare their solidarity and stand by the women of Afghanistan.

The Taliban must know that by suppressing, imprisoning, torturing and killing Afghan women, they cannot silence their voice for freedom and equality. The Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women, as an independent women’s movement in Afghanistan, in coordination with other Afghan women’s groups, continues to struggle for freedom, civil rights and the right to life of Afghan women.

Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women
November 11, 2022
Kabul, Afghanistan