In Nangarhar province, the Taliban publicly flogged a citizen 39 times for “lawat” (sexual relationships between homosexual couples).
On suspicion of sexual immorality, the Taliban terrorist organization recently sentenced a gay man to 39 lashes, a punishment that was seen by a large crowd of people including children in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. This punishment is part of the Taliban’s growing pattern of atrocities and barbaric actions against LGBTQ+ people.
As these horrible crimes and penalties against LGBTQ+ people are being carried out more and more frequently every day, the Taliban have already stated that they do not recognize any rights for LGBTQ+ persons in Afghanistan.
LGBTQ+ people in Afghanistan had to contend with danger long before the Taliban took full control of the country on August 15, 2021. Former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani’s government passed a law in 2018 criminalizing same-sex sexual relations, whereas the previous penal code included vague language widely interpreted as criminalizing same-sex relationships.
LGBTQ+ people had experienced many cases of abuse because of their sexual orientation or gender identity prior to the Taliban’s return to power, including sexual violence, child and forced marriage, physical violence from their families and others, expulsion from schools, blackmail, and being outed. Many were forced to conceal key aspects of their identity from society and from family, friends, and colleagues, In fact, the Taliban has been known to use LGBTQ+ individuals as pawns in political power struggles, arresting and imprisoning them on charges of sodomy or “moral corruption” in an attempt to gain support from conservative factions.
However, when the Taliban, who had been in power from 1996 to late 2001, regained control of the country, the situation dramatically worsened. The Taliban reaffirmed the previous government’s criminalization of same-sex relations, and some of its leaders vowed to take a hard line against the rights of LGBTQ+ people.
Despite making repeated pledges to respect human rights, the Taliban have engaged in widespread rights abuses since retaking control of the country, including revenge killings, systematic discrimination against women and girls, severe restrictions on freedom of expression and the media, and land grabbing. In this context, marked by systematic abuse of power combined with the virulent anti-LGBT sentiment, Taliban officials and their supporters have carried out acts of violence against LGBTQ+ people with impunity.
By Shahzad Mudasir