A female judge in Afghanistan was hunted by escaped Taliban militants she put in prison, reports Reuters. She spoke on condition of anonymity after reaching safety in Europe.
Her statements corroborate reports that the Taliban emptied Afghanistan's jails amid their takeover of the country and the withdrawal of US and allied forces.
"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.
She was one of a handful of approximately 250 female judges that have been able to obtain safe passage out of Afghanistan. Her evacuation was achieved with the assistance of human rights activists on the ground and the support of the International Association of Woman Judges.
The Taliban’s release of prisoners has "really put the lives of women judges in danger," the judge said. "Their messages are of fear and complete terror," she added. They tell me if they do not get rescued their lives are in direct danger."
The Taliban pledged to uphold women's and minorities rights, despite a documented history of brutalization, oppression and violence. They clarified that women would maintain their rights "within the delimitations of Islam".
UNICEF controversially took the Taliban’s reassurances about women’s rights in August at face value, despite a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights previously stating that people have "thoroughly understandable" reasons to be concerned about the Taliban.
"We call on the Taliban to demonstrate through their actions, not just their words, that the fears for the safety of so many people from so many different walks of life are addressed."
When the Taliban had control of Afghanistan back in 2000, women were considered lawbreakers for opening schools for girls. They had to cover their faces from head to toe.
This history led to a group of women taking to the streets in Kabul earlier on Tuesday.
It was nearly a decade ago that Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban forces in Pakistan for demanding girls be allowed to go to school. She's not as optimistic as UNICEF when it comes to the future of girls in Afghanistan.
US President Joe Biden pledged to hold the Taliban accountable by 'utilizing leverage' if the Taliban backpaddles on its softer public rhetoric.