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On-line abuse of politically energetic Afghan girls tripled after Taliban takeover, rights group studies

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ISLAMABAD — On-line abuse and hate speech concentrating on politically energetic girls in Afghanistan has considerably elevated because the Taliban took over the nation in Aug. 2021, in line with a report launched Monday by a U.Ok.-based rights group.

Afghan Witness, an open-source venture run by the non-profit Middle for Data Resilience, says it discovered that abusive posts tripled, a 217% enhance, between June-December 2021 and the identical interval of 2022.

Constructing on experience gained from related analysis in Myanmar, the Afghan Witness group analyzed publicly out there data from X, previously often called Twitter, and performed in-depth interviews with six Afghan girls to research the character of the web abuse because the Taliban takeover.

The report mentioned the group of investigators “collected and analyzed over 78,000 posts” written in Dari and Pashto — two native Afghan languages — directed at “virtually 100 accounts of politically energetic Afghan girls.”

The interviews indicated that the unfold of abusive posts on-line helped make the ladies targets, the report’s authors mentioned. The interviewees reported receiving messages with pornographic materials in addition to threats of sexual violence and loss of life.

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“I feel the hatred they present on social media doesn’t differ from what they really feel in actual life,” one lady informed Afghan Witness.

Taliban authorities spokesmen weren’t instantly out there to remark concerning the report.

The report recognized 4 normal themes within the abusive posts: accusations of promiscuity; the assumption that politically energetic girls violated cultural and non secular norms; allegations the ladies have been brokers of the West; and accusations of constructing false claims so as to search asylum overseas.

On the similar time, Afghan Witness mentioned it discovered the web abuse was “overwhelmingly sexualized,” with over 60% of the posts in 2022 containing phrases equivalent to “whore” or “prostitute.”

“For the reason that Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, social media has turned from being a spot for social and political expression to a discussion board for abuse and suppression, particularly of girls,” the venture’s lead investigator, Francesca Gentile, mentioned.

The Taliban have barred girls from most areas of public life and work and stopped ladies from going to high school past the sixth grade as a part of harsh measures they imposed after taking energy in 2021, as U.S. and NATO forces have been pulling out of Afghanistan following 20 years of conflict.

“The Taliban’s hostility in the direction of girls and their rights sends a message to on-line abusers that any lady who stands up for herself is honest sport,” added Gentile.

One feminine journalist, talking with Afghan Witness on situation of anonymity, mentioned she deactivated a few of her social media accounts and not reads feedback, which impacts her work when attempting to achieve out to on-line sources.

The report mentioned it discovered the overwhelming majority of these behind the web abuse have been males, “from a variety of political affiliations, ethnic teams, and backgrounds.”

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