LGBT men in Afghanistan
Rameen, a young gay Afghan, poses with his back to the camera in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Massoud Hossaini/AP/Shutterstock)

Human Rights Advocates Fear Mass Executions of Gay and Bisexual Men in Afghanistan Due to Taliban Takeover

As the ongoing humanitarian crisis continues to unfold across Afghanistan following the fall of Kabul on Aug. 15 and the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country, concerns over a new human rights crisis are starting to emerge. Gay and bisexual men in the country now fear that with the Taliban and Islamic militants back in control of the country, they could soon all face mass execution.

The Advocate has reported that queer men in the region do have a legitimate reason to worry. 

“The German newspaper Bild already spoke to one Taliban judge who said the group would stone gay men,” Advocate reported, adding that “the group is known for its extremist view on Sharia Law, which would make homosexuality punishable by death.”

In an interview with Insider, a 37-year-old man working for the United Nations who opted to keep his identity private for his safety said, “I just hope that somebody comes and wakes me up from this bad dream.” 

In the past, the man who Insider identified as Rameen recalled joyous times in the Afghanistan capital city, going dancing, frequenting karaoke bars, and hanging out with members of Kabul’s underground LGBTQ community. 

“It was fantastic and so much fun,” he said. But that has all changed in just over a week. Now Rameen is scared to even leave his house, go to work, or meet his boyfriend.

“If the Taliban finds out about us, they’ll sentence us to death,” he said. “I think we will have to stop our relationship.”

According to Advocate, gay and bisexual men are now desperate to find a way out of the country and escape living under Taliban rule.

While homosexuality was still considered illegal and a deadly sin under the previous Afghanistan leadership, there was an uneasy acceptance of LGBTQ individuals, and no one had been sentenced to death for the “crime” for more than twenty years. However, during the Taliban’s rule in the 1990s, gay men were routinely hunted down, persecuted, beaten, and sentenced to death in cities like Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and elsewhere throughout the country.

“It’s clear to me that as soon as the Taliban know that I am a gay man, they will kill me without even thinking about it,” another Afghan man told Insider.

Although resources in the region are limited, Nemat Sadat — who was the first public figure in Afghanistan to promote LGBTQ rights — is among those currently trying to help at-risk men in the country as the crisis continues. A former political science professor at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, Sadat regularly campaigned for LGBTQ rights in Afghanistan until he began receiving death threats and was forced to flee to the U.S.

Today he is working feverishly to try and secure asylum for men still living in the country. Sadat told the Advocate, “it’s not hyperbolic to say that gay people will get weeded out and exterminated by the Taliban, just like the Nazis did. People are messaging me saying, ‘here’s my passport, here’s all my information, please get me out of this country, I’m going to die.’”

The Canadian LGBTQ organization, Rainbow Railroad, is one of several human rights groups around the globe currently attempting to save many of those at-risk Afghani men.

In a statement, the group said: “Rainbow Railroad is concerned that the return to power of the Taliban will lead to instances of extreme violence directed at members of the LGBTQI+ community in Afghanistan. And although it remains to be seen how the Taliban will respond to international pressure to uphold human rights, early signs are not encouraging. Now is the time for governments to step up and support LGBTQI+ Afghan refugees.”

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

Latest News

Melanie Willingham-Jaggers

People on the Move: Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, New Executive Director of LGBTQ Advocacy Group GLSEN

The nationwide LGBTQ+ advocacy group Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has announced the appointment of its new Executive Director, Melanie Willingham-Jaggers. They will be the first Black, nonbinary individual to lead the group in its 32-year history. Founded in 1990 by a group of educators focused on helping…

Walmart interior

Black Corrections Officer Wrongly Accused of Shoplifting in Walmart Claims Store Employees Racially Profiled Him 

Despite Walmart’s ongoing commitment to diversity as an organization, employees at one store in Georgia have been accused of racially profiling one of their customers. Monique Beals of The Hill reported that “David Conners, a Clayton County corrections officer, was stopped and handcuffed by a Fayetteville police officer while he…

Walgreens exterior

Walgreens Planning Virtual Summit To Promote Supplier Diversity

National pharmaceutical giant Walgreens (No. 39 on the DiversityInc Top 50 list) has announced an upcoming supplier diversity summit designed to help the country’s numerous diverse businesses and entrepreneurs promote their businesses and offerings.  Business news site Retail Info Systems (RIS) reported that the virtual event, scheduled for April 5th…

Shane Brown

Las Vegas Police Sued for Jailing Black Man Using an Arrest Warrant Meant for a White Man With a Similar Name

In a case combining mistaken identity, incredibly poor judgment and racial profiling, Las Vegas police are accused of “confusing” a 23-year-old Black man for a white man twice his age simply because they share a similar name. And now that wrongfully detained man is filing suit against the police department…

Olivia Munn

AAPI Forum With Actress Olivia Munn To Discuss Anti-Asian Discrimination Hit with Racist ‘Zoom Bomb’

An online gathering of Asian American women and their allies to talk about anti-Asian discrimination felt the damage firsthand when a racist internet troll attacked their meeting. Leah Asmelash of CNN reported that the “virtual gathering of high-profile Asian American creators, including actress Olivia Munn, became the subject of their…

Boeing CEO David Calhoun Provides ESG and Supply Chain Update in Message to Employees

Originally published at boeing.mediaroom.com. Boeing Company ranked No. 17 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun shared the following message with employees addressing the company’s fourth-quarter results: As we share our fourth-quarter results, I want to thank you for your hard work and…

Cox Communications logo on screen.

Cox on 5 Things To Not Compromise in 2022

Originally published at cox.com. Cox Communications ranked No. 32 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   As you jump into a new year, you may have a list of resolutions you plan to work toward. From short-term goals like reading one book per month to long-term…