Shots in the air and shrapnel… The Taliban violently dispersed a protest in Kabul on Saturday for women’s right to work and education, nearly a year after the Islamists came to power. Afghanistan. Forty women marched in front of the Ministry of Education, chanting “Bread, Work and Freedom”. Taliban fighters Disperse them five minutes after the march begins by firing explosives into the air.
Demonstrators carried a banner reading “August 15 is a black day”, referring to the date of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in 2021. “Justice, justice. We are tired of ignorance,” they chanted before violently dispersing.
The Taliban, dressed in military uniforms and armed with assault rifles, blocked a crossroad in front of the demonstrators and began firing long seconds into the sky. An AFP journalist noted that one of them simulated a shot aimed at the demonstrators.
Some protesters took refuge in nearby shops, where they were chased by the Taliban and hit with shrapnel. Cell phones were also confiscated from the protesting women. Journalists have also been attacked by the Taliban. “Unfortunately, the Taliban, who were part of the intelligence unit, came and shot into the sky,” Jolia Parsi, one of the protest organizers, told AFP.
“We will protest from our homes”
“They dispersed the girls, tore our banners and confiscated the mobile phones of many girls,” he added. Munisa Mubaris, another protester, said she wanted to continue fighting for women’s rights. “We will not allow our voices to be silenced by the Taliban. We will protest from our homes,” he added.
Demonstrations by women demanding more rights have become increasingly rare in the capital, especially after the arrests earlier in the year of the organizers of these gatherings, some of whom were detained for weeks.
Since their return to power last August, fundamentalist Islamists have gradually eroded the freedoms women won over the past two decades since the fall of their previous regime (1996-2001). They have imposed a series of restrictions on civil society, many of which are aimed at subjugating women to their fundamentalist conception of Islam. They often keep them out of public employment restricts their right to moveR, and they forbade Women’s access to college and high school.
The latest restriction comes from early May, when the government issued a decree, endorsed by the Taliban and Afghanistan’s Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, that made it mandatory for women. Wearing a full veil in public. The Taliban have made it clear that they prefer the burqa, a combined veil that is often blue and tied at eye level, but other types of veils that reveal only the eyes are tolerated. They also felt that unless women had a compelling reason to go out, “they were better off staying at home.”
All of these measures “describe a pattern of gross gender segregation and aim to make women invisible in society,” UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan Richard Bennett declared in Kabul in May. In a press release, human rights group Human Rights Watch on Thursday called on the Taliban to “reverse their cruel and misogynistic decision” to ban education for girls. “It will send a message that the Taliban are willing to reconsider their worst actions,” said Fereshta Abbasi, an Afghanistan researcher at the NGO.
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