Taliban Forces Female Officers to Buy Them Guns or Face Consequences

Taliban fighters are forcibly asking female security officers of the former regime to buy them guns.

Female members of security forces in Samangan province complain of being harassed by the Taliban.

An estimated 30 female police officers were on duty in Samangan province, but lost their jobs after the Taliban took over of the country. They fled Samangan to other provinces and eventually to neighboring countries due to increasing threats. These former members of the police force report of their financial challenges and dire situation.

A former military officer in Samangan, who identifies herself as Shima for security reasons, told Hasht-e Subh that after graduating from the military university, she started working for the Samangan police headquarters for seven years. She added that during this time she had participated in many operations to detain criminals alongside male police officers.

With the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, all of Shima’s aspirations and goals, like those of thousands of other women, are dashed and a dark prospect opened up for her. She, who has received professional training in the military, says that she has been living underground for the last couple of months and away from her relatives. Shima is suffering from mental health problems due to the stress of the Taliban.

The former police officer told Hasht-e Subh that the Taliban’s intelligence department had summoned all the women who worked in the police force separately and interrogated them in an insulting manner. She added that despite handing over the weapons to the Taliban police command in Samangan and receiving a “receipt”, the Taliban’s intelligence department has again asked them to surrender their weapons.

Laila (a pseudonym) is another woman who has spent more than 10 years in the police force in Baghlan and Samangan. The policewoman told Hasht-e Subh that she had escaped to Balkh from Samangan and that the Taliban’s intelligence department had imprisoned her husband for four days in order to bring her back to Samangan. Laila adds that after four days, with the mediation of the elders, she returned to the Samangan intelligence department and was subjected to a harsh interrogation. She states that she had received only one handgun from the Samangan police command and handed it over to the group member in the very first days of their entrance to city.. But the group’s intelligence agents is asking for an AK47 – Kilashinkove in exchange for her release.

The female police officer added that after seven hours in custody of Intelligence Department of Taliban, she was released off with the mediation of elders, and her husband, who was a taxi driver, was forced to buy a weapon to give the Taliban.

The group uses its male members to deal with cases involving women. This has added to the concerns of the people. Hakimullah, whose house was searched by the Taliban, told Hasht-e Subh that no woman was with the Taliban when his house was searched. He added that his wife and sister were also present when the Taliban entered his house. According to Hakimullah, the Taliban’s attempt to search houses without the presence of female staff creates many problems for the people.

The Taliban have also excluded women from civilian institutions. Three years ago, for the first time, a woman was appointed as the Prosecutor for the Elimination of Violence against Women at the Samangan’s Prosecutor Office. After the fall of the republic, the Taliban has removed the Prosecution of Violence Against Women and have dismissed its employees.

On the other hand, some military women in Samangan have not received their salaries and benefits for the three to five months that they have worked. Delays in the payment of police and army salaries have always been a problem. Most of these women are the sole breadwinners of their families and now that they can no longer work, they have economic problems in addition to security problems.

The international community has been a major supporter of women working in Afghanistan’s security sector. Over the past 20 years, the international community has reportedly invested about $100 million in training military women in Afghanistan.

Former female soldiers request the international community. “We call on human rights organizations, the international community and NATO to evacuate women who were previously in the military,” said one of the women, who do not want to be identified. “It seems like we are forgotten.”

Few of these women have been able to leave the country since the Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan. Most of those who have left the country, have reached Iran through smuggling routes.