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Taliban abducting girls over 15 years of age for marriage, says escaped journalist

Taliban abducting girls over 15 years of age for marriage, says escaped journalist

Life in Afghanistan has taken a 180-degree turn for women, reports a journalist who escaped the country after its fall to the Taliban.

After the takeover of Kabul last week, the Taliban have been going house-to-house in Afghanistan, searching for women and girls over the age of 15 for marriage, Hollie McKay wrote in The Dallas Morning News. McKay’s Afghan friends who remain behind are gripped by the fear of what awaits them, she reports.

“I thought of how hard women had fought for their freedoms in this country, only to have them cleaved away with a click of the insurgency finger,” said McKay

In her piece for the The Dallas Morning News, McKay writes of a 14-year-old girl she met at a displacement hub on the periphery of Kabul who had run for her life from the fighting in Kunduz. The girl just wanted an education and to one day become a doctor, she writes.

McKay also speaks about another Afghan woman — Fariha Easer — who she met many years earlier. Fariha used to be the voice of embattled Afghan women and roamed the volatile country to bring the stories of Afghan women to light and to be a potent force for change. After Taliban’s takeover, Easer broke into a million pieces, writes McKay.

“My friends on the outside are begging me to leave my country,” Fariha said. “But how can I, when my sisters are suffering?”, reported The Dallas Morning News.

“She told me the Taliban have been going house-to-house, looking for women and girls over 15 for marriage. A month ago, insurgent members arrived on the doorstep of her friend’s home in Badakhshan, which fell to the group several months ago, looking for young brides. Fariha told me the story she heard from her friend,” McKay reports.

“They were saying that they are the saviours, the guards of Islam, the liberators of the West,” Fariha said. “They asked one father to give over his daughters as wives. They said one of the Taliban is a mullah, and they must make an engagement for him.”

There was no choice. The unmarried 21-year-old was taken away that night.

After the marriage, Fariha recounts, the father found out that multiple members of the Taliban raped the young woman. “The father went to the district governor and was told there was nothing he could do. Whatever could be done, he must do himself.”

In a slim silver lining to a drastically sad tragedy, the father fled with all his daughters into hiding.

The prospect of being forcibly married to the Taliban now afflicts millions of Afghan girls and women. The security blanket provided by the NATO has been torn away, reports The Dallas Morning News.

“In my own experience of being inside the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif as it fell last Saturday, I saw the bustling city brimming with women immediately become a ghost town. The few women who eventually stepped into the sunshine were sheathed in blue burqas, neither seen nor heard,” said McKay.

(With inputs from ANI)

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