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Taliban brutality against hapless Women in Afghanistan
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Mahtab’s Image, During a Mission in 2019; Courtesy: (ANP)

Mahtab Hamdard is one of the women protestors and one of the women in military service during the era of the previous government. She has been imprisoned in the Taliban dungeon for more than twenty days. Mrs. Mahtab was one of the employees of the Afghan National Police in the Department of Criminal Crimes in Daykundi Province at the previous government of Afghanistan. After the fall of the republican system to the hands of the Taliban group, she stayed with her family in Afghanistan and joined the ranks of women protestors.

When the Taliban forces inhumanly treated women protestors and subjected women protestors to verbal and physical violence, Mrs. Mahtab and her family fled from Kabul to Ghazni province in the southeast of Afghanistan. One of Mahtab’s relatives says, “We were at home day and night; fear and terror surrounded us all. Mahtab was always at home and no longer had any activities against the Taliban and had given up her work.

But Mrs. Mahtab was not spared from the violence of the Taliban, even in Ghazni. The Taliban found her residence, attacked Mahtab’s house at 9:00 p.m., handcuffed her, and took her to an unknown place. After that, when her family went to the Taliban’s security PDs, they received a negative answer that no one named Mrs. Mahtab was imprisoned there. Then they went to the intelligence department of the Taliban, where they first face the misbehavior of the Taliban intelligence forces. There they also received a negative answer that the intelligence had not arrested any woman with such details.

The members of Mahtab’s family returned home disappointed and confused. After a few days, they found out through an intermediary, that Mahtab was in the prison of the Taliban intelligence. Mahtab’s family inevitably appealed to the elders and seniors of the region where they lived. They met with the intelligence personnel of the Taliban group without the presence of Mahtab’s family members. Finally, they successfully were able to get Mahtab released from the prison of the Taliban intelligence. One of Mrs. Mahtab’s relatives adds, “None of our family members were present in that meeting, and we never know what was said in that session. We only heard from elders of the region that Mahtab was released because of her pregnancy and the decree of amnesty for Eid al-Fitr of Ramadan by Mullah Haibatullah, the leader of the Taliban group.”

However, the serial arrests of Mrs. Mahtab did not end with the mediation elders of the region. For the second time on April 27, 2023, Mahtab was arrested again by the Taliban forces. This time, the incident of Mahtab’s ‘capture’ is more dramatic than before and is staged as it is in war movies. On April 27, at 10:00 p.m. local time, eight men from the Taliban armed forces entered the house of Mrs. MahtabHamdard through the yard wall. When this family found out that some armed people entered the house, they closed the doors of the room from the inside of the house to prevent the entry of these armed men or at least to find a chance to let Mahtab escape from the house.

But the Taliban forces shot at the windows of the room with bullets. As many windows as there were shot by the Taliban forces, all house windows were broken. It was night and dark!! The noise and wails of women and children were everywhere. In the meantime, one of Mahtab’s relatives tried to let Mahtab out of the house so she could be saved. But he failed to do this and had to take her to the bathroom and hide her there. He said in this regard:

When the Taliban forces shot at the window panes, we realized that it was not the thieves but the Taliban; surely they came again to arrest Mahtab. I took Mahtab to the bathroom and realized she was crying and sobbing, and I kept silent. I saw that her crying was getting louder, and I told her not to cry, and they would understand that you are here and they will find you very quickly. After being released, Mahtab suffered from severe depression, and her mental condition was not good at all, and we were always worried about her. When her sobbing became louder and more, I looked at her quickly, and she gave me sad looks and promptly asked me a dangerous and unexpected request. I was surprised and cold sweat flowed from my head and body”.

She said, “I don’t want to go to Taliban’s hell anymore, and it is worse than hell and dungeon, and I am asking you to take the knife and stab it in my chest. If you don’t do it, I’ll do it myself.” I saw that she was earnest in her decision, and I was also scared. I told her you don’t do this or don’t do it for the sake of your unborn child. If I do this, I will be the murderer of you and your child in my conscience, and if you do this yourself, you will be considered the murderer of your child as well. Be patient; if they arrest you this time, we will try to free you as before. Mahtab calmed down a bit, and I looked around me to see which knives and razors were not there. Then I realized no dangerous objects were around and left the bathroom.

The armed men of the Taliban broke the house gate and entered the home. They turned off the electric lamps and shone their flashlights on every woman’s face. But at that time, they failed to find Mrs. Mahtab. One of them ordered that they should search all the rooms and break open any room where the door was locked. After a few minutes, the Taliban fighters found Mahtab in the bathroom. They handcuffed Mahtab very cruelly and took her away.

He added: “When I got out of the bathroom, I could still hear the screams of women and children. I went near the exit gate of the house courtyard when Taliban were breaking the gate. I leaned myself behind the gate, one of the armed Taliban shot and I don’t know to which way he shot. But I pulled myself back when four armed men entered the house and held me under gunpoint and tied my hands behind my back.”On the morning of that heart-breaking night, Mahtab’s family went to the Taliban security PDs, and the officials of the PDs denied Mahtab’s arrest. They even went to the intelligence of the Taliban. They also denied arresting her and said, “Our obligations bind us, and we released her from prison once, and we have nothing to do with her anymore.” But after many searches and finding an intermediary, they find out that Mahtab is in the prison of the Taliban intelligence. But the Taliban do not allow her family to visit her.

He says that “Mahtab was two months pregnant. She has been in Taliban prison for some time, and her family has no information about her condition. Therefore, the relatives of Mrs. Hamdard complain about the human rights defenders and the United Nations, and they believe that, unfortunately, these organizations have not provided any fundamental help for Afghan women. They ask national and international human rights organizations to release Mahtab from the Taliban prison through negotiation channels because her only crime has been military in the previous government of Afghanistan.” Ultimately, this is not just Mahtab’s story but the narrative of hundreds of Afghan women who have been imprisoned due to the inhumane restrictions of the dictatorial Taliban. Despite the “General Amnesty” announcement by the Taliban for the militaries in the previous government of Afghanistan, these serial arrests intensified after the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan and are still continuing.


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