Monkeypox is being used by the Taliban as a mandate to target, harass, and detain LGBTQ+ people in Afghanistan.
According to reports by PinkNews, the Taliban’s persecution of LGBTQ+ people has been put in overdrive following the detection of monkeypox in Europe.
The virus, which is usually found in parts of Central and West Africa, has recently been detected across Europe and the world, including the UK, Australia, Canada, Spain, Portugal, and the United States, to name a few.
While the virus is not sexually transmitted, health officials believe monkeypox is being transmitted through close contact during sex, with mostly queer men making up most confirmed cases.
Despite Afghanistan not having any recorded cases of monkeypox, the Taliban appears to have seized the opportunity to crack down on the rainbow community under the veil of stopping the spread of the virus.
“The Taliban have no scientific knowledge about the disease,” the anonymous man says.
“The Ministry of Health has stated that no cases of the disease have been registered, yet they are still looking for excuses to harass the Afghan gay community,” he adds.
“Wherever they see handsome men wearing no local clothes, they check their cell phones and, if they find the slightest evidence that they are gay, they arrest them and take them away.”
“When they detain homosexuals, they tell the public it’s to prevent the spread of monkeypox.”
The man also explained that trans people are also at risk with the Taliban beating and detaining people suspected of being LGBTQ+.
“The Taliban do not like anyone to wear fashionable clothes. They threaten all homosexuals with death after being detained. They say they should wear local clothes, should not shave their beards and act as they wish.”
The World Health Organization currently identify the spread of the virus as a “Moderate” risk to the general public.