'We'll die slowly': Fears young girls will become sex slaves to Taliban

·News Reporter
·5-min read
  • Fears daughters will become Taliban sex slaves

  • Afghan reporter's teary plea at Pentagon briefing

  • CNN reporter clarifies viral burqa photo

There is growing concern for Afghan women after the Taliban continues its drastic reclaiming of the nation, seizing power in the capital Kabul on Sunday.

Distressing video emerging from Afghanistan shows hundreds of residents rushing the tarmac in a desperate attempt to flee the country by plane. 

In one particularly harrowing video, two stowaways appear to be falling from the sky after clinging to a US Air Force plane departing Kabul.

Women and children at a mosque.
Displaced Afghan women and children from Kunduz are seen at a mosque that is sheltering them. Source: Getty

Attention has now turned to the women of Kabul, who face widespread repression under a Taliban regime.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai said on Twitter she is "deeply worried" for women, minorities and human rights advocates living in the country.

There are fears the Taliban will once again resort to removing women from society as they did during their five-year rule to 2001, where they are not allowed to leave home without a male escort, barred from employment and school beyond a certain age.

Afghan MP Farzana Kochai said there would be considerable resistance to such a move, however she does not know what the outcome will be.

A young woman and an older woman looks out of a van window.
Women in Afghanistan are fearing for their futures after the Taliban captured Kabul. Source: Getty

"I'm afraid of these things. First of all my life... and after that my freedom," she told Reuters.

Kamilaa Alamgir, an Afghan refugee in India, said there is now "no hope" for women in the country or those seeking to return. 

“The dreams of all the women and girls living in Afghanistan are shattered," she said.

In one poignant video circulating online, a crying Afghan woman says women will "die slowly in history".

"We don't count because we're from Afghanistan," she tells the camera.

Fears of Afghan women becoming sex slaves

Australian-based former Afghan refugee Najeeba Wazefadost says countries should be doing more to help women and children escape Afghanistan.

She said young girls in the country are becoming victim of "mass rape" as they are being forcibly married off to Taliban fighters just to save their lives.

"A lot of women are telling us a lot of their daughters have been pushed to become sexual slaves," she told the ABC.

The Taliban has denied such claims.

The Asia Pacific Network of Refugees, which Ms Wazefadost founded, wrote to the Australian government on Monday calling for an expansion of its resettlement efforts for Afghan women.

"We worry that the situation for women in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly," a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said.

Afghan reporter breaks down at Pentagon briefing

Female Afghan reporter Nazira Karimi broke down at a press briefing at the Pentagon on Monday (local time).

Video of Ms Karimi shows her making an emotional plea to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, telling him Afghan people "don't know what to do".

Politico reporter Lara Seligman described the incident on Twitter.

"Wow - a female Afghan reporter asking a question of [Kirby] at the Pentagon briefing just now, breaks down in tears over the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the fate of women and girls across the country," she wrote.

In video from the briefing, Ms Karimi says women in her home nation "didn’t expect that overnight all the Taliban came".

“They took off my flag,” Ms Karimi says as she peels back her face mask adorning Afghanistan's flag. 

“This is my flag," she says through tears.

While there are fears there will be a return to its austere interpretation of Islam under Taliban rule, Taliban officials have issued statements saying they want peaceful international relations and are promising to respect women's rights.

Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban's political office, told Al Jazeera the form of the new regime in Afghanistan would be made clear soon, adding the Taliban did not want to live in isolation and calling for peaceful international relations.

A Taliban leader told Reuters the insurgents were regrouping from different provinces, and would wait until foreign forces had left before creating a new governance structure.

CNN reporter's '24-hour change'

Screen grabs of CNN's chief foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward in Kabul less than 24 hours apart have gone viral after a drastic change in appearance after the Taliban claimed the capital.

In the Taliban's previous rule, women were only allowed outside while wearing burqas, with many anticipating a similar rule will be enforced.

And users online suggested Ward was adhering to that after she went from wearing a vibrant scarf and no head covering to a black head scarf. 

"Clarissa Ward transforms herself in a day – chooses to survive," one person wrote on Twitter.

However she later clarified the situation saying the comparison was inaccurate.

Ward said the first photo was taken inside a private compound, and the second image was from the streets of Kabul.

"I always wore a head scarf on the street in Kabul previously, though not w/ hair fully covered and abbaya," she explained.

"So there is a difference, but not quite this stark."

With Reuters

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