Armed police of the Taliban extremist group arrested and detained European commissioner Emma Bonino and 18 other European representatives and journalists, including Christiane Amanpour of CNN, for allegedly making a videotape inside a Kabul women’s hospital on September 29. The Taliban has imposed a rule against photographing people. Taliban police detained the group for three hours before they were released unharmed.
Bonino, the highest-ranking Western official to visit Kabul since the Taliban took over a year ago, is in charge of the European Union’s humanitarian office. The European Union has committed $40 million for emergency aid in Afghanistan.
In response to the arrests, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) held a press conference condemning the Taliban’s oppression of women. The Taliban controls the southern two-thirds of Afghanistan, where they have prohibited women from working, going to school, leaving their homes without a close male relative, or appearing in public without a burqa, a head-to-toe garment with only a mesh opening to see through. Maloney has introduced a House Resolution expressing concern for human rights violations in Afghanistan. A similar resolution has already passed the U.S. Senate.
Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy announced last week that 5,000 Canadian women have written letters protesting women’s oppression in Afghanistan. Axworthy will deliver the letters to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.