Girls as young as 12 rounded up to be sex slaves as spoils of war by Taliban

Taliban leaders are reportedly rounding up women and young girls as young as 12 and forcing them to be sex slaves as they battle for control of Afghanistan.

Fighters are going from "door to door" and taking away females between 12 and 45 as spoils of war, who are then divided up amongst the Taliban.

In areas now controlled by the Taliban, harsh sharia law has been imposed where women can only go out in public with a male escort, and wearing the hijab is compulsory.

Nine of 34 provincial capitals have now fallen to the Taliban while many of the country’s major cities are under siege with the Afghan military struggling to fight back.

The withdrawal of Western troops has given the Taliban incentive to push forward and their latest seizure is of Zaranj, an important trading centre close to the border with Iran.

Many women are fleeing Afghanistan as families fear for their daughters.

"Now the Taliban are going door-to-door in some areas, compiling lists of women and girls aged between 12 and 45 years for their fighters to forcibly marry," wrote Bloomberg columnist Ruth Pollard.

It is allowed because of the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam where women are "kaniz" or "commodities".

And so after a battle, they can be treated as spoils of war.

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"They don't even have to marry them, it is a form of sex slavery," said Omar Sadra, a politics professor at the American University of Afghanistan.

Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, of the country’s High Council for National Reconciliation, told Bloomberg that existing civil rights are being lost.

She said: "My greatest fear is now they are marginalizing women who have been working in these leadership positions, who have been a strong voice against the most powerful abusers but also working with them to change the situation on the ground."

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Videos in the city of Zaranj show the Taliban walking around or in lorries with guns, both thought to be stolen from the US army.

Brutalities have been shown in other images believed to be from Kang District in the southeast of the country where soldiers appear to have had their eyes gouged.

The Taliban are also reported to have control now of major border crossing such as Spin Boldak with Pakistan.

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