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Rights Groups Express Concern After Rape Allegation Against Taliban Official

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THE RECENT allegations of forced marriage and rape against a former spokesperson of Afghanistan’s Taliban government led to rights groups on Friday expressing concern over the situation of women in the country.

“We call on the de facto authorities to transparently investigate all alleged violations of women’s rights, to hold perpetrators to account and to ensure safety of #Afghan women and girls,” the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan tweeted on Friday.

The demand comes after a video showing a young woman went viral on social media, in which she introduced herself as a medical student and said she had been forced into a marriage and repeatedly raped by a Taliban official.

In the footage, Elaha Dilawarzai alleged that she was beaten and tortured every night by Qari Saeed Khosty, a former government spokesperson, after a forced marriage.

“After publishing this video, it’s possible that no one will see me again, I might die,” Dilawarzai said in the video, adding that she had tried to flee the country but was captured and forced to apologize to her husband.

Khosty, who was a part of the government until a few months ago, admitted to the marriage but denied the allegations and apologized to Taliban leadership for marrying without their consent.

He tweeted that he mad married Elaha at her request six months ago, alleging that she had “insulted religious beliefs and practices and the Holy Quran.”

The former spokesperson claimed that he had never hit or abused Elaha and later divorced her using his “legal right.”

In a statement, nonprofit Human Rights Watch said that “it would be no surprise for a Taliban official to feel free to inflict forced marriage, rape, assault, nonconsensual filming, and blackmail,” as the group had dismantled all protections offered to women after seizing power.

“The question is how many such cases go unheard,” the group said.

Khosty has challenged Dilawarzai to prove his crimes in the country’s Islamic courts.

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