The protest by a group of Afghan women, demanding equal rights and their participation in the future government in Kabul, was violently brought to an end by the Taliban special forces, leaving many protesters injured, various reports said
The protest by a group of Afghan women, demanding equal rights and their participation in the future government in Kabul, was violently brought to an end by the Taliban special forces, leaving many protesters injured, various reports said. Protesting women were marching towards the presidential palace in Kabul on Saturday when the Taliban fired shots in the air and used teargas shells to disperse them. Among the group were Afghan journalists and women activists.
Women were protesting openly in the streets of Kabul - and reportedly in other Afghan cities like Herat - for two days to demand that their rights and the gains of the past are safeguarded.
“Twenty-five years ago, when the Taliban came to Kabul, they prevented me from going to school,” Azita, an Afghan journalist, was quoted as saying by TOLOnews. “I studied during the last 20 years after the fall of the Taliban and made efforts for a better future. I will not allow this achievement to be lost,” she added.
On 15 August, the group toppled the US-backed Afghan government and vowed to impose Sharia laws, a strict Islamic code that many see curtails the rights of women. Earlier between 1996 to 2001, when the group last ruled Afghanistan, women were barred from education and works and had effectively been barred from any active role in the society.
The fear of the repeat of those dark days is what prompting many women now to take to the streets against the Taliban, demanding their rights to be preserved.
On the other hand, the Taliban justified using force, saying there were left with no options as protesters were moving towards the presidential palace.
Earlier this week, Herat, the country’s third-largest city in its western part, saw similar protests. In comparison to other parts of the country, Herat has relatively better active participation of women in society. For instance, almost 60 percent of students at Herat University are female.
During earlier press conferences held by the group, leaders had assured that their women would have all rights but according to "Islamic values". However, their assurances failed to convince people.
This week, the Taliban released multiple directives for higher study institutions. Complete segregation of female from male students, and full hijab dress for women are among those directives. In some regions, local departments issued directives that female students should only be taught by female teachers.
The average age in Afghanistan is just 18 years, making the country a post-emirate society, much different from what the Taliban left in 2001 when they were toppled by invading the US and NATO troops.
If the future Taliban regime fails to accommodate the concerns of this generation, they will be far from bringing lasting stability and peace to the country, as the world watches their movements closely.