Tamana Zaryabi Paryani: Afghan activist arrested by armed men in January has been ‘released’

Tamana Zaryabi Paryani, a female activist arrested by armed men in Afghanistan in January, has reportedly been released.

Ms Paryani was arrested shortly after she participated in a series of anti-Taliban protests in Kabul following their compulsory Islamic headscarf order.

Her state of health is unknown following her release, sources told the BBC, which reported she had been freed.

Before her arrest, Paryani had posted a video on social media, pleading for help alleging that the Taliban was at her door.

“Help please, the Taliban have come to our home… only my sisters are home,” she is heard saying in the footage, with other female voices captured in the video, crying. “I can’t open the door. Please… help!”

While spokesperson for Taliban intelligence Khalid Hamraz neither confirmed nor denied the arrest, he tweeted at the time that “insulting the religious and national values of the Afghan people is not tolerated anymore”.

Reports emerged on Friday that dozens more Afghan women and their families had been detained.

Rina Amiri, a senior US diplomat, said in a now-deleted tweet that about 29 women were among the 40 people detained by Taliban on Friday. It was unclear why the tweet was deleted.

The accusations come as the Taliban attempts to persuade the world to recognise and financially support its government, while continuing its crackdown on dissenting voices.

The group had earlier arrested several journalists, including two foreign journalists, working on an assignment with UNHCR. They were released on Friday after their detention led to a huge international outcry.

Following their release, a number of women staged protests in Kabul demanding the release of female activists who have been detained and have since been missing.

“We held a demonstration in reaction to all the problems created by the Taliban group for the people of Afghanistan,” Monisa, a protester, told Tolo News. “You detained them, without having any female soldier, this is against Islam,” another protester Taranom Saeedi added.

Sahar Fetrat, assistant researcher for Human Rights Watch’s women’s rights division, told the Washington Post that through these abductions, “the Taliban are sending a clear message about how society should function, who is the authority and the power, and how people should obey it”.

“It’s about stopping any kind of activism, any kind of protest against the Taliban.”