Five-year-old Zarghuna and seven-year-old Ajmal, living in Helmand, Afghanistan, have spent sleepless nights awaiting the return of their missing father, Noorayel Kaliwal. Human rights violations have become serious after the Taliban took over control of Afghanistan. There is an endless cycle of societal violence at the hands of the Taliban. The withdrawal of NATO from Afghanistan came with its own set of challenges for the Afghan people. After preventing women from working in offices in Afghanistan, women’s education has also been prohibited. During the era of democracy, people working in the Afghan army and other institutions were arrested and tortured by the Taliban. Incidents of killings have become normal. Sometimes women were arrested, sometimes women were forced to disappear and sometimes there were incidents of violence against women. Violence by the Taliban against human rights activists and people speaking out against human rights abuse has become a norm in Afghanistan. The Pashtun Protection Movement, a major human rights and civil rights movement, has a large following in Afghanistan and the youth of Afghanistan support has come out in support of the PTM due to shared cultural, family and economic ties with the Pashtun belt in pakistan. After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, there have been several incidents of kidnapping, torture and imprisonment of PTM supporters by the Taliban. It is believed that this has been possible with the help of certain state actors within the Pakistani establishment who exercise a certain degree of influence of Taliban’s factions. Human rights activist Nurail Kalewal (son of Abdul Qadoos) is a resident of Nawa Siraj Kale Terme, which lies in Helmand Province. Kalewal spent most of his life in Kandahar. In the month of March 2023, he was forcibly abducted allegedly by the members of the secret armed forces of the Taliban from Sangin area of Helmand province.He was reportedly taken to Girish area and then to the Central Detention Center of the Taliban in Lashkar Gah. Nurail’s fault was that he openly supported the PTM in Afghanistan, spoke against the violation of human rights, and took to social media to criticize the security policy in the Af-Pak region. Kaliwal often posted about the PTM’s struggles in Pakistan and the problems in Afghanistan for which he was repeatedly threatened. Kaliwal’s family members have not been given any access to him despite so many days. It would not be wrong to believe that Kalewal’s life is in danger due to imprisonment and torture meted out to him. Nooral Kalewal’s family members are worried for his life. It is discouraging that international human rights organizations or intergovernmental bodies are completely silent and are not raising any voice about the atrocities of students and activists in Afghanistan. Despite regular reports on the plight of women and activists, the international community is yet to act on this serious matter. A few days ago, the PTM and affiliated activists brought attention to Kaliwal’s abduction through the hashtag #ReleseNoorayleKiliwal, calling on the Taliban leadership to ensure his release and safe return.
Nooral Kaliwal has two young children who anxiously await their father’s return. His family has contacted the Taliban leaders several times but is yet to receive any official acknowledgement about his detention. The United Nations must immediately take action against the ongoing human rights violations in Afghanistan and take steps to protect the lives and property of the Afghan people. Through Peace for Asia, we can at least make a humble appeal to Human rights organizations worldwide that they play a role in ensuring Kaliwal’s safe return.
Image – Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) / Facebook