The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission accused the police of violence against women in a recently released report, attributing close to 15 percent of honor killings and sexual assaults in the region to the police force. The report follows over two years of data collection by the commission, in which they documented 163 sexual assault cases and 243 honor killings.
“The cultural impunity and the lack of follow up of these cases is something we’re very concerned about,” said Sima Samar, commission chair.
The Interior Ministry rejected the report, defending its 152,000 police officers against the claims. They said the police force had made progress in safeguarding human rights.
Violence against women in Afghanistan was widespread under the reign of the Taliban, though even significant international intervention has not prevented the nation from being consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous places to be a woman. In April, Human Rights Watch reported that women in the Afghan police force face sexual harassment, assault, and even rape from male colleagues. In May, HRW reported that 50% more women than ever were being incarcerated for “moral crimes” such as running away from forced or abusive marriages and families. In the same month, the Afghan parliament failed to pass the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which would have banned forced and underage marriage, beatings, and rape.