girl protesters in Takhar
Female protesters in Taloqan, Takhar

Taliban threatens to marry off female protesters to its fighters in Takhar

The Taliban authorities in Afghanistan’s north-eastern province of Takhar have threatened families of female protesters that they will be forcibly married off to the group’s fighters unless the protests against the order banning women from universities stopped.

Mursal Amini, a university student in Takhar, organised an online English language class for 20 students with one of her friends teaching from outside the country. The Taliban morality police and intelligence agents stormed her house at around 11am on Tuesday, forcing her to shut down the class. She would be married off to a Taliban fighter, unless she stopped, she was told.

Rahima Qaderi, a former university student, said that “the online class provided me a hope of learning English after they banned us from universities. But they took that from us too.”

On 24 December 2022, the Taliban issued an order banning women from universities. As in other parts of Afghanistan, students affected by the ban took to the streets of Taloqan city, the capital of Takhar province, which was violently suppressed, with six women being detained.

Despite a wave of global condemnations, the Taliban leadership have refused to reverse their decision. The group had already banned girls from secondary school education soon after taking over Afghanistan.