Afghanistan’s female judges at risk of Taliban’s revenge

Afghan Protest in London  Afghan Protest in London Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

03 September 2021

Afghan female judges who jailed Taliban and Islamic State-Khorasan fighters are facing death threats.

 After the Taliban released many of their imprisoned fighters, the lives of 250 women judges have been placed in constant danger. Hunted by the men they sentenced to prison, they are now trying to flee Afghanistan, but most are still in the country. As the Afghan human rights activist Horia Mosadiq reported, in addition to female judges, prosecutors and police officers, around a thousand other women human rights defenders could also be in the Taliban’s crosshairs.

Since the Taliban’s takeover, women and girls have been forced to live in a climate of increasingly widespread violence and systematic threats. According to the United Nations, the killings of women in Afghanistan have been rising sharply since February 2020, when the US signed a peace deal with the Taliban.

Women working in the field of justice have been targeted before. Already last January, two female judges were killed by gunmen in an ambush in Kabul. Despite continuing to pledge respect for women’s rights before the international community: school closures, restrictions on movement, and women being forced to leave their jobs put at risk humans rights protection. 

Organisations such as the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) are working tirelessly to help female Afghan colleagues escape. Comprised of over 6500 female judges coming from more than 100 countries, the organization wants to highlight the essential role played by Afghan women judges in upholding the rule of law, human rights, the independent judiciary, and the active participation of women in society. 




Author: Antonella Candiago; Editor: Xavier Atkins

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