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The Taliban have captured a female Afghan governor who recruited militants to fight them - report

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This photograph taken on July 14, 2021 shows Salima Mazari (C), a female district governor in male-dominated Afghanistan, looking on from a hill while accompanied by security personnel near the front lines against the Taliban at Charkint district in Balkh province.
  • Salima Mazari, one of the few female governors in Afghanistan, has been detained by the Taliban, according to a report from the Times of India.
  • The report did not indicate where Mazari is or when she was captured by Taliban forces.
  • As the governor of Charkint district in north Afghanistan, she recruited and trained militants to fight the Taliban.
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One of the few female governors in Afghanistan, Salima Mazari, has been detained by the Taliban, the Times of India reported, quoting local reports.

Afghanistan TV journalist Nadia Momand also tweeted on Wednesday that Mazari had been reportedly captured by the Taliban, and called for her release.

Mazari, 40, is the governor of Charkint district in north Afghanistan, which has a population of more than 30,000 people. She has been recruiting and training anti-Taliban militants to fight against the insurgents since 2019, according to The Guardian.

Mazari was born in Iran in 1980 when her family fled the Soviet War in Afghanistan, and returned to the country decades later, per the Guardian. She was appointed to the role of governor in Charkint district in 2018, making her one of the first female governors in the male-dominated political scene, per NPR.

She has been an active force in the fight against the Taliban. "Sometimes I'm in the office in Charkint, and other times I have to pick up a gun and join the battle," she told The Guardian in an interview earlier this month.

By the first week of August, half of Mazari's district was already under Taliban rule, and she had recruited 600 locals to shore up defense in the district, per the AFP. Many of those locals were farmers who sold their livestock to buy weapons, Mazari told the AFP.

Her district was one of the last few standing before the entire country fell to the Taliban, reported the India Times.

Map of Afghanistan showing where Charkint district is.

Fears for women under Taliban rule

During the Taliban's rule from 1996 to 2001, women were not allowed to work or go to school, and had to be accompanied by a male guardian when outside. This week, the Taliban claimed they will give women more freedom as long as Islamic law is followed. That stance that has been met with widespread skepticism.

Speaking to the AP on Saturday, Mazari said "there will be no place for women" under Taliban rule.

"In the provinces controlled by the Taliban, no women exist there any more, not even in the cities. They are all imprisoned in their homes," she told AP.

On Saturday, Zarifa Ghafari, Afghanistan's first female mayor, had told UK media outlet iNews that she was just waiting for the Taliban to find her.

"I'm sitting here waiting for them to come," she said. "There is no one to help me or my family. I'm just sitting with them and my husband. And they will come for people like me and kill me. I can't leave my family. And anyway, where would I go?"

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