Afghan women are being forced to marry or travel with men pretending to be husbands to qualify for evacuation, US migration officials cited by CNN have reported.
U.S. officials dealing with Afghan refugees notified the State Department of cases where Afghan women and girls were forced into marriage or traveled with male partners pretending to be their husbands to qualify for evacuation.
According to CNN sources, some Afghan women and girls were forced into marriage by their families so that they could flee the country. In some cases, families paid men eligible for evacuation thousands of dollars to marry or pretend to be husbands so that the women could evacuate with them.
State Department of Human Trafficking
“The Department of State takes allegations of human trafficking seriously,” said a State Department spokesman quoted by CNN.
“We are coordinating the efforts of the US government and national and international partners to detect potential trafficking in human beings among vulnerable Afghans at relocation sites and to protect any identified victims,” he added.
Taliban rule in Afghanistan, oppression against women
The Taliban who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 imposed a radical form of Sharia, that is, Islamic law. Its oppression against women was a particularly striking feature of it. Before US troops entered Afghanistan, laws were in place that, inter alia, prohibited women from taking up paid employment and from gaining education.
Obligations for women to wear full-face burqas were strictly enforced.
This time, the movement declares that it wants a peaceful rule. Western countries, however, express doubts about this, and the decisions of the new Taliban authorities seem to contradict the assurances. Many Afghans, especially women, the educated or affiliated with the former government or Western coalition forces, fear for their lives.
Women’s protests in Afghanistan
A group of Afghan women organized protest on Friday, near the Presidential Palace in Kabul. They urged the Taliban to respect their laws. They demanded access to education, the right to return to work, and participation in government.
– We Afghan women have worked hard, studied and specialized, educating for 20 years – said one of the participants of the event. “We want our human rights,” she added.
On Thursday, a similar demonstration took place in Herat in the west of Afghanistan. About 50 women demonstrated there stressing the right to work, education and safety. – We are not afraid, we are united, we have the right to education, work and security – chanted the participants of the demonstration in front of the provincial governor’s office.
Main photo source: Nicholas Guevara / US Marine Corps / Newscom / PAP