In 1999, when interviewing Afghan women refugees who had recently fled to Pakistan, the Feminist Majority Foundation’s research staff first heard reports of torture in Taliban-run women’s prisons. Now that the Taliban have fled Kabul, evidence of torture is laid bare. The “room of pain” in the women’s prison in Kabul was the site of horrific human rights abuses and torture for many Afghan women brought there for disobeying Taliban decrees on behavior and dress. Reporters from the British Daily Telegraph visited the prison and describe streaks of blood and fingernail gouges on the walls as well as a green rope hanging from the ceiling, used to tie up prisoners still wearing their burqas. Left in the prison were rubber whips, metal manacles, and other devices of torture used to beat the women incarcerated there. Shan Fahim, a policeman, told the reporters that screams and cries emanated from the prison and that the Taliban “could not hide their excitement when they discussed what they had done. They just used the name of Islam as an excuse to justify their actions. They were not normal people.” Many women who were imprisoned at the site would later be stoned, flogged, or suffer amputations in public.
The Northern Alliance has appointed an official to investigate the abuses at the prison, which was directed by a Pakistani cleric Mullah Kebale. The Taliban, however, burned all of the prison files when they evacuated the city. The soldiers also took with them one hundred women prisoners as they fled towards Kandahar.