KABUL (AFP) - The United Nations has demanded the Taliban provide information on two more women activists allegedly detained by the group this week - bringing to four the number missing this year.
Since returning to power in August the Taliban have cracked down on dissent by forcefully dispersing women's rallies, detaining critics and beating local journalists covering protests.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) said late on Thursday (Feb 3) it had sought "urgent information" on the reported detentions of two more women activists by the Taliban in Kabul this week.
"UN repeats its call for all 'disappeared' women activists & relatives to be released," it said on Twitter.
US special envoy to Afghanistan Rina Amiri also called on the Taliban to respect women's rights.
"If the Taliban seek legitimacy from the Afghan people & the world, they must respect Afghans' human rights - especially for women," she said on Twitter.
Unama did not reveal the names of the two women activists missing this week, but another rights advocate told AFP that Zahra Mohammadi and Mursal Ayar had been arrested by the Taliban.
"Zahra, a dentist, used to work in a clinic. She has been arrested along with her father," the activist said, asking AFP not to reveal her name.
Ayar was arrested on Wednesday after a male colleague asked her for her address so he could come to hand over her salary, the activist said.
"That's how she was trapped. The Taliban found her and arrested her."
The latest detentions come less than a month after a pair of women activists - Tamana Zaryabi Paryani and Parwana Ibrahimkhel - went missing after participating in a Kabul protest.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern for them and four of their relatives, who all remain missing.
The Taliban have denied any knowledge of their whereabouts and say they are investigating the matter.
The Taliban have promised a softer version of the harsh rule that characterised their first stint in power from 1996 until 2001.
But the new regime has been swift to bar women from most government jobs and close the majority of girls' secondary schools.