What Afghanistan’s Women Can Expect

by | Aug 16, 2021 | Article

Reports from Afghanistan just after the fall of the country to the Taleban said that Taleban representatives had gone from door to door looking for young girls who could be made brides of the victorious Taleban warriors.  Where did the concept of marrying girls as young as nine years old come from?  And what can the girls and women of Afghanistan expect under Taleban rule?

There are clues in the sexual practices of another victorious Islamic militant group, a group that established a caliphate in Syria and Iraq in 2013, the Islamic State, ISIS.

In the fall of 2014, a Saudi fighter for the Islamic State in Al-Shaddadi, Syria, bought a female slave in the market, a 34-year old Yazidi captive.  He raped her over and over again.  Why else do you buy a female slave?  Then he purchased a second sex slave.  This one was a twelve year old girl.  And suddenly the handcuffs of the Saudi fighter’s lust came off.  

Said the 34 year old sex slave after she escaped, the  ISIS fighter raped the twelve year old youngster “for days on end despite heavy bleeding.” The 34-year-old escapee says with a mixture of despair and disgust, “He destroyed her body. She was badly infected. The fighter kept coming and asking me, ‘Why does she smell so bad?’ And I said, she has an infection on the inside, you need to take care of her.”  

“‘She’s just a little girl,” pleaded the 34-year-old.  But the ISIS fighter answered: ‘No. She’s not a little girl. She’s a slave. And she knows exactly how to have sex.’’’ Then he added something vital:  “And having sex with her pleases God.” 

So the fighter never provided medical care.  Instead, he prostrated himself on the floor next to the adolescent girl’s bed, prayed to Allah, then mounted the child over and over again.  Each time when he was finished, he laid himself out on the floor again and prayed.  

We do not know the end of the story.   We do not know if Allah the merciful, Allah the compassionate ever answered the prayers with healing.  And, frankly, we do not know if the fighter even bothered to pray for such a thing.

This was just one of many stories told by those who managed to escape.  Those who managed to slip away from the new institutions of sexual slavery that ISIS crowed proudly about in cover lines on its October 11, 2014, issue of its glossy magazine Dābiq with the proud words, ““The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour.”   

What’s the Hour?  It’s the Muslim equivalent of Christianity’s rapture, it’s the arrival of the day of judgement. 

What was sex with a rapist, a profoundly religious rapist, like?  Two Yazidi former sex slaves who talked to the press were as discreet as possible and avoided the sexual details.  But the New York Times Rukmini Callimachi gives us a hint in her description of what another escaped Yazidi sex slave, a girl held for eleven months before she escaped, told her.   

The girl was only twelve years old, with a waist so small, says Callimachi, that you could encircle it with your two hands.  Her ISIS rapist began by explaining to his twelve year old captive that the Qur’an says that raping young girls is a holy deed.  He then tied her hands and put a gag in her mouth, got down on the floor, prayed, then, to use Callimachi’s euphemism, got on top of her.  

Says the girl, “I kept telling him it hurts — please stop.”  His response?  “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God.”   

Another escapee from ISIS, a fifteen-year-old Yazidi, recalls that her rapist said the same thing in slightly different words.  Words that are revealing.  “He said that raping me is his prayer to God. I said to him, ‘What you’re doing to me is wrong, and it will not bring you closer to God.’  And he said, ‘No, it’s allowed. It’s halal.’ ”  

Another fifteen year old who became the possession of an ISIS fighter in his 20s said, “He kept telling me this is Ibadah.”   Meaning that having sex with an unwilling non-Muslim is a form of worship.   

Says The New York Times’ Callimachi, the leadership of ISIS elevated and celebrated “each sexual assault as spiritually beneficial, even virtuous.” 

Explains Callimachi, “The Islamic State has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery, including sales contracts notarized by the ISIS-run Islamic courts.”   Writes Ms. Callimachi.  “A growing body of internal policy memos and theological discussions has established guidelines for slavery, including a lengthy how-to manual issued by the Islamic State Research and Fatwa Department.”  

When they are captured, the women are separated from their sons, their husbands, and their fathers.  The men are transported to a distant field, herded like  sheep to  a predetermined location, told to lie down, then are finished off with a spray  of machine gun bullets.  

The women are gathered in warehouses, a “network” of holding pens, often located in public buildings.  For example, 1,300 Yazidi girls were housed in the huge banquet room of Mosul’s Galaxy Wedding Hall, a luxury location with marble floors.   Others were housed at Mosul’s Directory of Youth building or at one of the palaces built for Iraq’s long-time dictator, Sadam Hussein.  

Some of these warehouses included viewing rooms, where the sex-slaves-to-be could be displayed for potential buyers.  But first, the women were inventoried.  At the Galaxy Wedding Hall, for example, three Islamic State fighters  showed up and demanded that the women stand up one at a time,  that each one “state her first, middle and last name, her age, her hometown, whether she was married, and if she had children.”    

The women could be kept in places like the Galaxy, shelved like a manufacturer’s inventory, for months.  When it came time to transport them, there were waiting lines of buses in the parking lot, a fleet of buses with curtained windows, curtains to close the girls off and to prevent men on the sidewalks or in passing cars from seeing their tempting faces.  The buses were travelling versions of the harems of bygone eras of Islamic imperialism.  

If the girls refused to leave when the buses arrived, they were dragged out by their hair.  Then men haggled over them.  The youngest and prettiest were sold first.  The older women were often forced to wait for months before they were bought.  Helping the trade along were wholesalers, men who bought women in batches, sat each one down on a couch with a sign announcing that she was slave girl number one, slave girl number two, etc. then took photographs and used the photos to tempt buyers. 

Where did these strange practices come from?  Was American president Barack Obama right when he said this was a perversion of Islam?   Or are the Qur’anic scholars of ISIS right?  Is raping unbelievers a holy act?  

What’s the gold standard of holiness?  The life of Muhammad.  Does Muhammad’s life justify driving female children, teenagers, and women “like sheep by the edge of the sword?”   Alas, Mohammed gloried in sex slaves.  The Taleban may well glory in them too.

For more on the strange world of militant Islam, see my book The Muhammad Code: How a Desert Prophet Brought You ISIS, al Qaeda and Boko Haram.



Rukmini Callimachi, ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape, New York Times, August 13, 2015,  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/world/middleeast/isis-enshrines-a-theology-of-rape.html?_r=0

Dābiq, October 11, 2014, fourth issue.

Umm Samayyah al-Muhajirah, “Slave Girls or Prostitutes?” Dābiq, Issue 9, May 21, 2015, p. 46.