Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, a female Afghan judge fled the country, claiming she was pursued by men she had previously imprisoned.

After reaching Europe, the judge spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity. Her speech came after reports that Taliban fighters had freed tens of thousands of prisoners when U.S. troops left Afghanistan.

“Four or five Taliban members came and asked people in my house: ‘Where is this woman judge?’ These were people who I had put in jail,” the judge said.

The woman was assisted to leave the country by international colleagues from the International Association of Women Judges and other human rights workers.

Although the woman could flee the country and avoid the dangers she faced, many female judges remain in Afghanistan. There are approximately 250 female judges in Afghanistan. A few were able to evacuate in recent weeks, but the majority were left behind and are continuously attempting to flee.

When the Taliban took control of the country, many men who had been sentenced by female judges were released, and that release has “really put the lives of women judges in danger,” the judge said.

“Their messages are of fear and complete terror. They tell me that if they do not get rescued, their lives are in direct danger,” she talked about the judges with whom she has had contact that is still in the country.

The Taliban has stated that it will respect women’s rights. Still, few believe the group as when they last ruled the country, the Taliban was noted for its poor treatment of female citizens. Women were barred from education, work, and receiving proper healthcare. They were also forbidden to leave their homes without a male relative escort. In addition, women would be punished for breaking the rules by beatings, torture, or death by stoning. 

A spokesman for the group claimed last month that women’s rights would be protected “within the limits of Islam.”

Should the Taliban break their vows, the Biden administration has promised to hold them accountable. Moreover, if complaints of mistreatment arise, President Biden and other high-ranking officials have indicated that they are willing to use pressure against the Taliban.

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