The Taliban captured a female Afghan governor who recruited militants to fight the Taliban, report says

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The Taliban captured a female Afghan governor who recruited militants to fight the Taliban, report says
This photograph taken on July 14, 2021 shows Salima Mazari (C), a female district governor in male-dominated Afghanistan, looking on from a hill while accompanied by security personnel near the front lines against the Taliban at Charkint district in Balkh province. FARSHAD USYAN/AFP via Getty Images
  • The Taliban detained Salima Mazari, one of the few female Afghan governors, The Times of India reported.
  • The report didn't indicate where Mazari was or when Taliban forces captured her.
  • As the governor of the Charkint district, she recruited and trained militants to fight the Taliban.

Salima Mazari, one of the few female governors in Afghanistan, has been detained by the Taliban, The Times of India reported on Wednesday, citing local reports.

Nadia Momand, a TV journalist in Afghanistan, tweeted on Wednesday that the Taliban had reportedly captured Mazari. Momand called for her release. The Times of India report didn't indicate where Mazari was or when the Taliban captured her.

Mazari, 40, is the governor of Charkint district in northern Afghanistan, which has a population of more than 30,000 people. She has been recruiting and training militants to fight against Taliban insurgents since 2019, The Guardian reported last week.

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Mazari was born in Iran in 1980. Her family had fled the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and Mazari returned to the country decades later, The Guardian said. She was appointed governor in 2018, making her one of the few women in male-dominated Afghan politics, NPR reported.

She has been a force in the fight against the Taliban. "Sometimes I'm in the office in Charkint, and other times I have to pick up a gun and join the battle," she told The Guardian.

By the first week of August, half of Mazari's district was under Taliban rule, and she had recruited 600 locals to shore up the district's defense, Agence France-Presse reported. Many of them were farmers who had sold their livestock to buy weapons, Mazari told the AFP.

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Her district was one of the last standing before the country fell to the Taliban over the weekend.

The Taliban captured a female Afghan governor who recruited militants to fight the Taliban, report says
Map of Afghanistan showing where Charkint district is. Screenshot/Google Maps

Fears for women under Taliban rule

During the Taliban's rule from 1996 to 2001, women were not allowed to work or go to school and had to be accompanied by a male guardian when outside. This week, the Taliban claimed they would give women more freedom as long as Islamic law is followed. That claim has been met with widespread skepticism.

Mazari told The Associated Press on Saturday that "there will be no place for women" under Taliban rule.

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"In the provinces controlled by the Taliban, no women exist there anymore, not even in the cities," she said. "They are all imprisoned in their homes."

On Saturday, Zarifa Ghafari, one of Afghanistan's first female mayors, told the UK news outlet iNews that she was just waiting for the Taliban to find her.

"I'm sitting here waiting for them to come," she said. "There is no one to help me or my family. I'm just sitting with them and my husband. And they will come for people like me and kill me. I can't leave my family. And anyway, where would I go?"

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