With Afghanistan now taking the number one slot on the Open Doors World Watch List 2022, the Taliban"s re-establishment of power has caused further violence and repression for Afghan religious minorities. As the 2022 Gender-specific Religious Persecution report
published on 1 March 2022 shows: Women are especially vulnerable under the all-male, highly conservative Islamic government which seeks to ensure all Afghan people fall in line with their version of Islam, or otherwise risk harsh punishments.
Eva Brown, Senior SRP analyst at World Watch Research, explains: "A deeply ingrained honor system and systemic gender inequalities have threatened the freedom of men and women belonging to religious minorities in this region for years. Forced marriage, house arrest and rape are used as tools for forced conversion, or re-conversion, to Islam. Women and girls are especially vulnerable to these tools and risk being forced into marriage in order to raise the next generation of Taliban fighters. Concerning the latter, fears already abound that men and boys are being forcibly recruited
into the new army as in earlier years (GFATF, 20 September 2021), and according to a religious minority leader, it is "˜an obvious thing that they"re just going to take all of your kids". To further fragment non-Sunni communities, religious leaders have been targeted for abductions, beatings and killings. With the increased vulnerabilities and fear of what could come next, hundreds belonging to religious minorities fled in 2021, with those that remain going deeper underground."