Afghan families have forced women and girls to marry men who were eligible for evacuation. At the Kabul airport, they sometimes paid the men thousands of dollars to pretend to be husbands or to get married quickly. They are trying to get the women out of the country for fear of the Taliban. US diplomats sound the alarm, CNN reports.
The stories are coming out through women at an evacuation center in the United Arab Emirates, sources tell CNN. The Americans first bring evacuees to another country to screen them before traveling to their destination.
Some women and girls at the shelter say their families forced them into marriage outside the airport in Kabul so they could flee the country when the Taliban took power.
Thousands of dollars
In some cases, families paid men who were eligible for evacuation thousands of dollars to marry or pose as husbands so that the women could go abroad.
US officials in the United Arab Emirates are warning the State Department about possible human trafficking, sources tell CNN. They underline the desperation among Afghans to flee.
“The State Department takes allegations of human trafficking seriously and is committed to protecting vulnerable people worldwide,” said a spokesperson.
After the takeover, the Taliban promised that women could continue to work outside the home and study at universities in the future. But they rule out the regime getting female ministers and also announce the introduction of Sharia law.
In practice, there are already different voices about the freedom of Afghan women. The British broadcaster BBC reports that a woman who got out of a taxi at a checkpoint in Kabul was asked by a Taliban fighter why she was traveling without her husband. She was forced to return home and was not allowed to continue until she returned with her husband.
Women have little faith in the beautiful words of the Taliban. They fear that they will lose their acquired rights and have to give up their old life.
Maryam Rajaee, who wanted to organize a workshop for female prosecutors, has fled the threat from the Taliban. “Don’t come back to the office,” she was told.
She now travels from shelter to shelter with her family. There she dives into the books for her university studies. “It is my right to be educated, have a good job, and participate in society at a high level,” Rajaee told the BBC. “All my dreams have been destroyed.”
The Taliban ended a demonstration by women in Kabul today. The protesting women were attacked by fighters not far from the presidential palace. According to eyewitnesses, they used tear gas and beat women demonstrating for equal rights and democracy. The women had banners with texts like: ‘We are not the women of the nineties’.
Yesterday, the Taliban did not intervene when about 20 women with microphones protested outside the presidential palace. The women demanded access to education, the right to return to work, and a role in the governance of the country. ‘Freedom is our motto. It makes us proud,’ read one of their protest signs. The day before, there was also a women’s protest in the western city of Herat.
“We are concerned about human rights in Afghanistan, especially women’s rights,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. “It is imperative that women have the right to work, to work in a safe environment, and those are some of the issues that have been brought to the attention of our interlocutors in Kabul and elsewhere.”