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A collection of Taliban “night letters” to Afghan women

As the Taliban in Bajaur blew up another girls’ primary school just yesterday it might be relevant to look at some details of Taliban threats against women as documented in a recent Human Rights Watch report

Many people are asking the question today of how the Afghan Taliban will treat women if they are included in some reconciliation process in Afghanistan as part of a NATO withdrawal. The best way to gauge this would be to analyze their own interaction with women over the years. Here is a selection from the report of “night letters” written by the Taliban to women in areas in which the Taliban are strong. Note the graphic nature of the threats. (beheading of the recipient, beheading of her daughters, setting her daughter on fire, etc). Another important thing to note is how direct the threats are against those involved in female education. Earlier, and even today, many Taliban apologists believed the Taliban’s claim that they only cracked down on female education because they did not have the resources to build all-girls’ schools – this is clearly not true since these letters show that the Taliban wish to destroy existing girls’ schools.

1.

Translation:
Name], you are working with the government. We Taliban warn you to stop working for the government otherwise we will take your life away. We will kill you in such a harsh way that no woman has so far been killed in that manner. This will be a good lesson for those women like you who are working. The money you receive is haram (forbidden under Islam) and coming from the infidels. The choice is now with you.

2.
Translation:

We warn you today on behalf of the Servants of Islam to stop working with infidels. We always know when you are working. If you continue, you will be regarded as enemy of Islam and will be killed. As we have killed Hossai yesterday whose name was in our list, your name and other women’s names are also on our list.

3.
Translation:

[Name removed] you are working with a foreign organization which is the enemy of religion and Islam. You receive a salary from them. You should be fearful of God. Every day, you shake hands with strangers without covering your face. We, herewith, inform you to stop doing this otherwise we will take such action against you that a Muslim has not yet done to another Muslim.

4.
Translation:

We would like to inform you [name removed] that you work with [place of work removed], the enemies of religion and infidels. you should leave your job otherwise we will cut your head off your body. You will have no right to complain then.

5.
Translation:

You [name removed] teaching at [name removed] School which is a girl’s school. You should be afraid of God. We warn you to leave your job as a teacher as soon as possible otherwise we will cut the heads off your children and will set light to your daughter. We will create a situation that you will regret.

This is the first and last warning.

6.

Translation:

[Name removed], you are working with [place of work removed]. You are warned by Taliban to stop working with them otherwise the Taliban’s court shall make a decision about you which will have severe consequences for you and your family. You will lose your life.

7. Translation:

To all those girls who live in Kohistan 1 district of Kapisa province and to those girls in particular who make telephone call to radio stations and introduce themselves and request songs. Hereafter, they are seriously warned that they should not call any local or international radios. If anyone does it again, particularly girls, they will face serious consequences: they will either be beheaded or acid will be thrown in their faces.

From: The Islamic Brotherhood Group.

8. Translation:

You were already informed by us to close the school and not mislead the pure and innocent girls under this non-Muslim government; however you did not pay attention and you are continuing to keep the school open. We want to remind you that we are going to implement what we are saying, and we do not want to discuss this. This is the last warning to close the school immediately and put a lock on its door. We should not see you in the province too. If you remain in the province, remember that you along with your family will be eliminated. Just wait for your death. It will be a good thing to accept our order. It depends on you.

About the author

Laila Ebadi

6 Comments

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  • idea of reconciliation with taliban is so scary . one should appreciate Nawaz Sharif for demanding neutral afghan policy. I hope someone in the parliament also demand the same.

  • Negotiations with taliban is death for modern, liberal and religious minded people of Pakistan. Taliban are not only dangerous for Pakistan but are dangerous for the whole world.They should be brought to table with stronger upper hand.

  • I am more scared of so called corrupt liberals like zardari who infact are economic terrorists by looting the national exchequer and in actual fact are responsible for people who are committing suicides in Pakistan because they can’t feed they children or families.

  • A completely secular Pakistan seems like a far-fetched utopian dream, religion and religious doctrines are so entangled in Pakistan that it will take a strong political will to amend the constitution of Pakistan which allows all sects and marginalized communities equal opportunities. As per my understanding a reactionary model will not last long, the evolutionary process of liberalism is taking its due course and ultimately given to the actions of extremist elements the masses will root them out eventually. Anyone who wishes to reconcile with Taliban should at least read these threat letter which accurately depict their mindset

  • Hi,

    Is there any prove that these letter are true or these letters are self fabricated.. It seems obvious that there are some thing fishy with these letters..