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UN pressures Taliban after two women's activists go missing

January 22, 2022

One of the two women who went missing in Afghanistan had posted a video of herself as men, allegedly from the Taliban's intelligence department, are heard pounding on her door. But the Taliban say the video is fake.

Afghan women shout slogans during a rally to protest against what the protesters say is Taliban restrictions on women
Afghan women's rights activists continued to fight for their rights under the Taliban regimeImage: ALI KHARA/REUTERS

The United Nations said it was concerned about the disappearance of two Afghan women's rights activists. Taman Zaryabi Paryani and Parawana Ibrahimkhel were reportedly abducted from their homes by the Taliban on Wednesday night.

"We urge Taliban to provide information on their whereabouts & to protect rights of all Afghans," the UN's Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement on Twitter.

Activist films distressing video

One of the activists managed to film a harrowing video apparently from her home in Kabul.

The video shows a visibly scared Paryani, as men claiming to be from the Taliban's intelligence department, pound on the front door.

According to local broadcaster Aamaj News, Paryani was disconnected shortly after sharing the video with the network.

Ibrahimkhel apparently went missing on the same night.

Paryani was among a group of women who had protested the forced wearing of the hijab.

A witness told the AP news agency that ten armed men had carried out the nighttime raid. The witness said that four people were taken, including Paryani. 

The Taliban have dismissed Paryani 's video as a fake, with a spokesman for police in Kabul, Mobin Khan, saying it was a "manufactured drama." 

UN experts say women are being 'erased'

On Monday, a panel of UN human rights experts said the Taliban's leadership was "institutionalizing large-scale and systemic gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls."

According to the panel, there have been a series of restrictive measures that target women since the militant group's takeover of Afghanistan.

"Today, we are witnessing the attempt to steadily erase women and girls from public life in Afghanistan, including in institutions and mechanisms that had been previously set up to assist and protect those women and girls who are most at risk," the panel of experts said in a statement.

On Friday, two local employees of NGOs operating in rural Afghanistan told the AFP news agency that the Taliban threatened to shoot them if they did not wear burqas.

The Taliban had given its assurances they would uphold women's rights shortly after seizing power. The Islamist group has continued trying to garner recognition from the global community. To date, no country has recognized its government.

kb/dj (AFP,dpa)