Members of the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice publicly flogged 18 men and women after Friday prayers in the Jame Mosque in Taloqan capital of Takhar province on November 11.
“Women were arrested for not wearing a burqa or walking in the market without a mahram,” says an eyewitness to Zan Times. And the men were arrested for shaving their faces, styling their hair or listening to music. According to him, the men and women spent up to 20 days in Taliban prisons before their public punishment at the mosque.
Six Taliban members, whipped each of the men and women 30 times, says eyewitness Kabir*. He said the women were screaming under the veils that covered their faces. “The mosque had taken on a completely military atmosphere and the Taliban did not allow anyone to take pictures or film,” he adds.
Since returning to power, the Taliban have imposed many restrictions on people. Many of the strict rules are focused on women and girls. The group has recently banned women from going to amusement parks, gyms and public bathhouses. Businesswomen in Daikundi province were recently told by the Taliban’s directorate of vice and virtue that they can’t conduct business with male clients and employers.
Women across the country are frightened to leave their homes, especially after it was revealed that the Taliban imprisoned women for “moral crime” or travelling while not accompanied by male chaperones. A new documentary by Ramita Navai, a British-Iranian producer, shows a women’s prison where 90 women were imprisoned. Some women featured in the documentary say the Taliban pressured them to marry their members in exchange for freedom.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the interviewees.