Afghan woman protester detained by Taliban freed

Afghan woman protester detained by Taliban freed
Parwana Ibrahimkhel, a female protester who protested against the Taliban and allegedly detained by them in Afghanistan has been freed, according relatives.
3 min read
12 February, 2022
Afghan women have demonstrated in several women's rallies since the Taliban came to power in August 2021[Getty]

An Afghan woman protester who went missing after taking part in a rally against the Taliban had been detained by the group for several weeks before being released Friday, a relative and an activist said.

Parwana Ibrahimkhel went missing in Kabul on 19 January along with another female protester Tamana Zaryabi Paryani just days after they participated in a women's rally calling for rights to work and education.

The Taliban, the hardline fundamentalists who now rule Afghanistan, had denied the two women protesters were detained by them, but on Friday a close relative of Ibrahimkhel told AFP that she had been released after being detained by the group for weeks.

"We confirm that Parwana has been released today. She had been detained by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the relative said requesting that his name not be revealed.

Prominent Afghan women's rights activist Hoda Khamosh confirmed that Ibrahimkhel had been released.

"I contacted close family members of Parwana. She has been released today and is currently doing well," Khamosh told AFP.

She did not specify whether Ibrahimkhel had been detained by the Taliban.

Ibrahimkhel and Paryani had gone missing along with four of their relatives. The fate of Paryani and the four relatives is still unknown.

Since the two women disappeared the Taliban have denied any knowledge of their whereabouts, saying they were investigating the matter.

Weeks after they went missing, two more women activists, Zahra Mohammadi and Mursal Ayar, were reportedly detained by the Taliban, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Their fate is also unknown.

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The Taliban have promised a softer version of the harsh rule that characterised their first stint in power from 1996 to 2001.

But since their August return, the hardline Islamists have cracked down on dissent by forcefully dispersing women's rallies, detaining critics and beating local journalists covering unsanctioned protests.

The Taliban have largely refrained from issuing any national edicts, but provincial authorities have introduced rules and guidelines dictating how women should live.

The new authorities have effectively barred women from working in several government sectors and most girls' secondary schools remain shut.

The Taliban have also issued an order that women could not travel between cities and towns unless accompanied by a close male relative.

On Friday, the Taliban also released two foreign journalists working for the UN refugee agency who had been detained in Kabul, the UNHCR said.

The Taliban are under pressure from the international community to respect human rights as the group engages in talks with Western countries and global donors to secure aid for tackling Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis.