Online abuse of politically energetic Afghan girls tripled after Taliban takeover, rights group stories

Online abuse and hate speech focusing on politically energetic girls in Afghanistan has considerably elevated for the reason that Taliban took over the nation in Aug. 2021, based on a report launched Monday by a U.Okay.-based rights group.

Afghan Witness, an open-source undertaking run by the non-profit Center for Information Resilience, says it discovered that abusive posts tripled, a 217% enhance, between June-December 2021 and the identical interval of 2022.

Building on experience gained from related analysis in Myanmar, the Afghan Witness crew analyzed publicly accessible data from X, previously often known as Twitter, and carried out in-depth interviews with six Afghan girls to analyze the character of the net abuse for the reason that Taliban takeover.

The report stated the crew of investigators “collected and analyzed over 78,000 posts” written in Dari and Pashto — two native Afghan languages — directed at “almost 100 accounts of politically active Afghan women.”

The interviews indicated that the unfold of abusive posts on-line helped make the ladies targets, the report’s authors stated. The interviewees reported receiving messages with pornographic materials in addition to threats of sexual violence and loss of life.

“I think the hatred they show on social media does not differ from what they feel in real life,” one lady informed Afghan Witness.

Taliban authorities spokesmen weren’t instantly accessible to remark concerning the report.

The report recognized 4 normal themes within the abusive posts: accusations of promiscuity; the idea that politically energetic girls violated cultural and spiritual norms; allegations the ladies have been brokers of the West; and accusations of constructing false claims with a view to search asylum overseas.

At the identical time, Afghan Witness stated it discovered the net abuse was “overwhelmingly sexualized,” with over 60% of the posts in 2022 containing phrases equivalent to “whore” or “prostitute.”

“Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, social media has turned from being a place for social and political expression to a forum for abuse and suppression, especially of women,” the undertaking’s lead investigator, Francesca Gentile, stated.

The Taliban have barred girls from most areas of public life and work and stopped ladies from going to highschool past the sixth grade as a part of harsh measures they imposed after taking energy in 2021, as U.S. and NATO forces have been pulling out of Afghanistan following twenty years of conflict.

“The Taliban’s hostility towards women and their rights sends a message to online abusers that any woman who stands up for herself is fair game,” added Gentile.

One feminine journalist, talking with Afghan Witness on situation of anonymity, stated she deactivated a few of her social media accounts and not reads feedback, which impacts her work when making an attempt to achieve out to on-line sources.

The report stated it discovered the overwhelming majority of these behind the net abuse have been males, “from a range of political affiliations, ethnic groups, and backgrounds.”