Lack of UN, EU response to Afghan women’s plight is disappointing: Afghan activist

Ms Ayoubi, an Afghan refugee and women’s rights advocate, is touring the world to garner support for the deteriorating situation of her female compatriots at home ruled by the extreme Islamist Taliban movement. But as she told TVP World, the more she and her fellow activists ask the UN and the EU for help, the more disappointed they become.

The plight of Afghan women under Taliban rule, with flogging, enforced full body covering and curtailed access to education, has found itself in the public eye – something that is best exemplified by the Sunday demonstrations in support of Afghan women under the hashtag #LetAfghanGirlsLearn.

“Lately, there have been a lot of arrests [in Afghanistan], girls disappearing and we already have four girls in Taliban prisons since 20 days,” TVP World’s guest said, adding that the Taliban have not released the women yet. The detainees are aged from 18 to 29, all of them single, according to Ms Ayoubi.

One of the women is Zarifa Yaqubi, who has become the face of the most recent Taliban clampdown on women. She, together with seven journalist colleagues, was taken in, for simply carrying out a conference indoors.

“Other girls were chased down to their houses and hunted down,” Ms Ayoubi said. “One of them was taken with her mother.”

Ms Ayoubi said that the number of detained women could probably exceed that of the four that were confirmed. This is because families of such detained women may be disinclined to speak up.

“We have decided not to put the women’s lives at risk in Afghanistan,” she said, adding that this was why Afghan activists decided to proceed with the march in London, rather than in Afghanistan.

TVP World’s guest highlighted, with an air of sadness, “the silence of the world.”

“We were in Geneva… we were in the EU at the Afghan Women Leader Forum and the more we ask states to support Afghan women… it is leading to more and more disappointments lately,” she said with a bitter air.