There’s one major difference between Taliban 2001 and Taliban 2021: While the ideology may still be stuck in the Bronze Age, the PR has come a long way.
As NPR noted, “The Taliban Is Attempting To Present A More Subdued And Acceptable Image To The World.” The group has promised it will respect women and human rights, according to The Associated Press — although it’s failed to elaborate on that.
According to reports coming out of Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover, however, that PR is just that: PR. It’s still the same old Taliban — and that includes raping women (including dead ones), forced marriages and other butcheries.
One woman who managed to flee the country following the terrorist takeover spoke to the media about this reported search. The women would either be taken or shot, she alleged.
“They rape dead bodies too. They don’t care whether the person is dead or alive,” the woman, who escaped to India, told that country’s News18. (The report was translated by India’s Northeastern Chronicle.)
“Can you imagine this?”
The woman, who was referred to only as Muskan, said she left her job and the country after numerous threats from the insurgent group, which took over the country two weekends ago.
“When we were there, we received numerous warnings. If you go to work, you are under threat, your family is under threat. After one warning, they would stop giving any warning,” she said.
Other reports came from Westerners who had done work on the ground in the country.
Liza Schuster is a professor at the City, University of London who has done fieldwork for years on the ground in Afghanistan. She told Sky News that Taliban insurgents had “entered people’s homes” and were “compiling lists of unmarried women between 15 and 45 as suitable wives for their fighters.”
The Taliban fighters were also “forcing women to wear the burqa, and if they leave without a [male familial escort], they are being sent home again and may be beaten.”
“If western governments are choosing to believe the Taliban propaganda, it’s because it serves their purposes”
Dr Liza Schuster says “the Taliban has not changed”, adding that they are beating people, forcing women to wear the burqa, and that there have been instances of stoning pic.twitter.com/QMUiNFVMNe
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 20, 2021
Former Afghan judge Najla Ayoubi told Sky News, meanwhile, that she’d been talking to women who described “bad behavior and violence against women.”
This included a woman in northern Afghanistan who had been “put on fire because she was accused of bad cooking for Taliban fighters.”
Former Afghan judge Najla Ayoubi says she had to “flee” for her life from the Taliban after speaking in favour of women and women’s rights.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 20, 2021
“They are forcing people to give them food and cook them food,” Ayoubi said, according to the New York Post.
“Also there are so many young women in the past few weeks being shipped into neighboring countries in coffins to be used as sex slaves.”
Even before the Taliban took over the entire country, however, The Wall Street Journal reported “Afghans pouring into Kabul and those still in Taliban-held areas” said “Taliban commanders have demanded that communities turn over unmarried women to become ‘wives’ for their fighters — a form of sexual violence, human-rights groups say.”
There are 14 million women in Afghanistan, according to NBC News. They’ve been left behind to be treated as chattel — forcibly married, butchered and raped even after death. On Saturday, Reuters’ headline said it all: “As Kabul turmoil mounts, Taliban’s PR offensive falters.”
The real news should have been that anyone bought it in the first place — and that President Joe Biden didn’t do more to stop it.
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