The Taliban is using monkeypox as an “excuse” to harass and detain LGBTQ+ people in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s persecution of LGBTQ+ people has been ramping up ever since monkeypox started being detected in Europe.
The virus, which is usually found in parts of Central and West Africa, is seeing outbreaks UK, Spain, Portugal and some other locations, with queer men making up the majority of confirmed cases.
While not sexually transmitted, public health officials believe monkeypox is being transmitted in these networks through close contact during sex, though experts have also suggested the statistics may be skewed towards queen men because they are more conscious of their sexual health.
Right now, Afghanistan has not officially recorded any cases of monkeypox, but that hasn’t stopped the Taliban from using the spread of the virus to crack down on and attack the LGBTQ+ community.
Two gay man living in Kabul told that the Taliban’s persecution of LGBTQ+ people has only worsened since the monkeypox outbreaks began. “The Taliban have no scientific knowledge about the disease,” they say. “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.”
A report shows the desperate situation of LGBT people in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.