All posts tagged: Afghanistan

Taliban tribunal gives woman 40 lashes for talking to a man on the phone

It only took 80 seconds for two men to rain down 40 lashes on the woman huddled on her knees as a large crowd looked on. The video of the brutal sentence carried out on an Afghan woman was filmed near Herat and posted on Facebook on April 13. It is a painful reminder of the continued operation of Taliban “courts”, even though they have been banned. For our Observer, it also symbolises the failure of the Afghan government. According to our Observers, this footage is from late 2020, though it hasn’t been possible to determine the precise date the incident occurred. This date range was confirmed by the governor of Herat on April 15. The video was first posted online on April 13, sparking widespread shock and outrage. The incident took place in Haftgola located near Herat in the Obe district. A man with a white beard leads the woman, who is covered by a burqa, into the center of a circle formed by local men who are there to witness the punishment being …

Holding exams in the snow: A sign of ‘ethnic discrimination’ in Afghanistan?

Photos have emerged in Afghanistan showing rows of high-school students sitting on the snowy ground to take the annual university entrance exams. The photographs, taken in Daykundi province in the center of Afghanistan, have nothing to do with social distancing due to Covid-19. Students in rural parts of Afghanistan have been taking exams in the snow for years simply because the regions lack infrastructures such as exam halls and even chairs. Residents say the problem is especially acute in regions like Daykundi that are home to members of the long-persecuted Hazara ethnic group. While the season of university entrance exams has not yet officially begun in Afghanistan, in some rural regions officials are holding the exams early, citing logistical problems and lack of manpower. The latest images from Daykundi were posted on Twitter on March 6 by Arif Rahmani, an opposition MP and member of Afghanistan’s Enlightenment Movement, a Hazara rights group that emerged during the 2016 protests over the cancellation of a major electricity project. “The current government exhibits ethnic and tribal discrimination that …

Afghan Police published US Marines video presented as their army striking the Taliban

On October 12, the Afghan National Police posted a video on Facebook that they said showed Afghan helicopters bombing Taliban positions in Helmand province. The conflict between the Afghan Army and the Taliban in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan has been intensifying since October 9. Both sides are using social media to show off what they perceive to be their military successes. But it seems like the Afghan police were a little too quick to post one particular video that they said showed the army striking Taliban positions. Turns out this video shows, in reality, a training exercise carried out by the United States Marine Corps in Arizona, USA, in 2017. The video, which was later picked up by numerous Afghan media outlets, was filmed in night vision mode and shows a helicopter bombing a compound. On the Facebook page of the Afghan National Police, the video garnered more than 20,000 views. The Afghan National Police posted this video along with the caption “Last night, Helmand was turned into a cemetery for the Taliban”. The …

Investigation: videos reveal location of mass drowning on Iran-Afghan border

Dozens of Afghan migrants are feared dead after Iranian border guards allegedly forced them into a river on the Iran-Afghan border on May 1. Of the 57 men and boys in the group, only 12 are known to have survived. One of the survivors told the France 24 Observers he and the others were arrested and tortured by guards from an Iranian border post overlooking the Harirud river.

Videos reportedly catch ‘prayer-writing’ mullah sexually abusing three women

Three videos circulating on social networks in Afghanistan claim to show a “prayer-writing” mullah sexually assaulting three separate women. The videos were reportedly made three years ago in the north-central Faryab province, but appeared online the week of September 10. Local officials have identified the mullah and accused him of rape. If the charges are correct, these videos would be rare documentation of an often-alleged practice: rape committed by mullahs claiming to offer prayer-inspired healing to women. They are known as “taweez nevis” in Afghanistan: self-appointed mullahs who in return for money write prayers on paper that are supposed to serve as “charms” (taweez). Afghan families often send women to see them in case of marital problems such as infertility. The sessions often lead to abuse. The three videos sent to me by multiple sources in Afghanistan appear to show such abuse. They show the same man, with a long beard and white robes, alone with three different women, in each case lying on a mattress on the floor.   Screengrab from a video circulating …