A report released by Human Rights Watch and OutRight Action International has found that LGBTQ+ individuals in Afghanistan face renewed threats and violence now that the country is again under Taliban rule.
The report is based off of interviews with 60 LGBTQ+ Afghans who have reported being beaten, raped, and threatened by family, neighbors, and members of the Taliban on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While a number of those interviewed remain in Afghanistan, others have fled to nearby countries although this doesn’t guarantee that they find safe refuge.
“We spoke with LGBT Afghans who have survived gang rape, mob attacks, or have been hunted by their own family members who joined the Taliban, and they have no hope that the state institutions will protect them,” said OutRight Action International researcher J. Lester Feder, in a statement released by Human Rights Watch. “For those LGBT people who want to flee the country, there are few good options; most of Afghanistan’s neighbors also criminalize same-sex relations.”
He added, “It is difficult to overstate how devastating – and terrifying – the return of Taliban rule has been for LGBT Afghans.”
Same-sex relationships had been criminalized in Afghanistan before the Taliban takeover. However, Human Rights Watch notes that the situation has gotten worse since the Taliban reclaimed the country last August. Taliban officials have stated publicly that homosexuality is against the version of Sharia law which they practice, with one official telling a German newspaper that homosexuals should face death either by stoning or by being crushed under a wall.
Among the individuals interviewed for the report was a man known by the name Ramiz S., who alleged that Taliban soldiers kidnapped and gang raped him for over eight hours after he attempted to collect a paycheck at his place of employment.
He was eventually released but claims that one of his captors told him, “From now on anytime we want to be able to find you, we will. And we will do whatever we want with you.”
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