New York [US], September 23 (ANI): The Taliban in Afghanistan's western city of Herat are committing widespread and serious human rights violations against women and girls, a new report has revealed.
The Taliban have instilled fear among women and girls by searching out high-profile women since taking over the city in mid-August.
The latest report states that the outfit is denying women freedom of movement outside their homes; imposing compulsory dress codes; severely curtailing access to employment and education; and restricting the right to peaceful assembly.
According to Human Rights Watch and the San Jose State University (SJSU) Human Rights Institute, the lives of women in Herat had been completely upended the day the Taliban took control of the city.
They found themselves trapped indoors, afraid to leave their house without a male family member or because of dress restrictions, with their access to education and employment fundamentally changed or ended entirely, the report said.
Moreover, the women in the city are facing economic anxieties due to lost income and their inability to work. They also faced distress and other mental health consequences as they contemplated an abrupt end to the dreams they had worked toward for many years, it added.
"For the women in Herat we interviewed, life as they knew it had vanished overnight, and they were left hiding indoors, waiting in fear to see whether the Taliban would come for them," said Halima Kazem-Stojanovic, a core faculty member of SJSU's Human Rights Institute and a scholar on Afghanistan.
"For these women, the best-case scenario is to be unharmed but forced to live a drastically diminished existence. The worst-case scenario is to be arrested or attacked for their past achievements or for their fight to keep their hard-earned rights."
Protesters said they were not engaging in anti-Taliban protests or supporting the former government but were calling for the Taliban to respect their rights.
"Afghan women have the right to express their views on any matter, especially when their most basic rights - to study, work, and even leave their own homes - are in jeopardy," said Heather Barr, associate women's rights director at Human Rights Watch. "The Taliban compound the abuses they are committing against women when they also deny them their right to speak out." (ANI)