Taliban going door-to-door forcibly 'marrying' girls as young as 12

Taliban are going door-to-door forcibly ‘marrying’ girls as young as TWELVE to their fighters as sex slaves in Afghan regions they now control

  • Taliban fighters going door-to-door in Afghan finding women to forcibly marry
  • Girls as young as 12 are being targeted for sex slavery, it has been claimed 
  • Women also barred from work and school under strict interpretation of Islam
  • Taliban have seized huge swathes of territory from the Afghan government, amid fears the country could fall to the Islamists within a month 

Taliban fighters are going door-to-door and forcibly marrying girls as young as 12 as they impose their terrifying vision of Islam on areas of Afghanistan they have seized.

Jihadist commanders have handed tribal elders and imams orders to bring them lists of unmarried women aged between 15 and 45 for their soldiers to marry. 

But now, it has been claimed that girls as young as 12 are being forced into sexual slavery in a dramatic return to life as it was under the Islamist group in the 1990s.

Meanwhile a female journalist described being forced to flee her home as the Taliban approached, and is now in hiding and in fear of her life.

Girls as young as 12 are being taken from their homes and forcibly married to Taliban fighters in areas of Afghanistan they now control (file image)

The 22-year-old, speaking to The Guardian anonymously for fear the Taliban will find her, said her life had been upturned in just a matter of days as fighters approached her home in the north of the country.

She described fleeing under the noses of Taliban fighters attacking the city – which she did not name – hiding underneath a chadari, or full Afghan burqa.

Accompanied by her uncle, the pair fled to his village but were soon informed that locals had tipped off the Taliban about her arrival – and that everybody would be slaughtered if fighters arrived and found her there.

The pair fled again, this time walking two hours on foot to an even-more remote location where she is now holed up.

She has had no contact with her parents since she fled, after all telephone lines in the city were cut.

She said: ‘I am so scared and I don’t know what will happen to me. Will I ever go home? Will I see my parents again? Where will I go? How will I survive?’

The Taliban has rapidly captured territory in Afghanistan, starting in April when Joe Biden said he would keep an promise made by Donald Trump to have all US forces out of the country by September 11.

With US forces now all-but gone, the jiahdists have made rapid gains – sweeping through rural areas and overrunning poorly-defended government outposts.

President Ashraf Ghani initially played down the threat, saying he had deliberately withdrawn troops into cities which would be easier to defend.

But that tactic appears to have backfired, with nine regional capitals having fallen to the Islamists in less than a week and most large cities within the country besieged.

While the Taliban has been keen to present itself on the international stage as a legitimate government-in-waiting, claiming to have abandoned the radical practices of its past, those on the ground tell a very different story.

In areas that the Islamists have captured, women have been barred from going to school, working, or leaving their homes without a permit, activists have warned.

Last month, reports emerged that fighters had ordered imams and tribal elders to prepare lists of all women aged 15 to 45 who were unmarried or widowed so they could be married to their fighters.

Taliban fighters are pictured in the city of Farah, one of nine they have seized in less than a week as they push to retake the country

While the Taliban have portrayed themselves on the international stage as reformed moderates, those on the ground say fighters (pictured) are brutal extremists

But, writing for Bloomberg, columnist Ruth Pollard said that has now extended down to girls as young as 12.  

‘Now the Taliban are going door-to-door in some areas, compiling lists of women and girls aged between 12 and 45 years for their fighters to forcibly marry,’ she wrote.

Taliban fighters are permitted to do this under their strict interpretation of Islam which views women as ‘kaniz’ or ‘commodities’, according Omar Sadr, professor of politics at the American University of Afghanistan.

That means, following a battle, women are treated as ‘qhanimat’ or ‘spoils of war’ to be divided up among the victors.

‘They don’t even have to marry them, it is a form of sex slavery,’ he said, adding that it also constitutes a form of ‘ethnic cleansing’ as other cultures are forcibly assimilated into the Taliban’s Pashtun group.

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