A UN expert described the repression of Afghan women, with the organisation also accusing the Taliban of harassing their female employees.
“There has been an emerging pattern of harassment of Afghan UN female staff by the de facto authorities,” the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement.
“Three Afghan women working for the UN were recently detained briefly and questioned by Taliban gunmen.”
The UN called for “an immediate end to all such acts of intimidation and harassment targeting its Afghan female staff”.
The UN’s accusation was rejected by spokesman Bilal Karimi who claimed no one was detained by local authorities.
“The information released by UNAMA is not true… nobody had been detained,” he said in a statement.
“There was a gathering of women in Kandahar, and when the women were asked for an explanation, it was found that they were UN employees, after which they were released.”
The accusation came after Richard Bennett, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Afghanistan, described “staggering repression” in the country.
“In no other country have women and girls so rapidly disappeared from all spheres of public life,” Bennett said in a press release.
“Despite this, women and girls remain at the forefront of efforts to maintain human rights and continue to call for accountability.”
A year after the Taliban took over in Afghanistan and the initial promises to the contrary, the rights of women has been severely set back, including teenage girls being banned from attending school and receiving an education.
The Afghanistan ambassador Nasir Ahmad Andisha who represents the toppled government called it a “gender apartheid” to a Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva.
Several Afghan women also addressed the meeting including rights activist Mahbouba Seraj, who urged the council to create a better mechanism for investigating abuses.
“God only knows what kind of atrocities are not being reported,” she said.
“And I want that to be reported because this is not right. World: this is not right. Please, please, you’ve got to do something about it.”