Dozens of women protested in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday to demand their rights. The first women’s protest in months was dispersed by Taliban fighters who fired their rifles into the air and beat several protesters.
In two days, it will be exactly one year since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan. The extremist group’s fighters captured Kabul on August 15, 2021, as Western forces entered the final phase of their withdrawal after nearly 20 years of presence in Afghanistan.
Since then, women’s rights in the country have been severely restricted. For example, there is less education for girls and women are denied access to many government jobs. Freedom of movement was also restricted and Amnesty International saw an increase in the number of forced marriages. The Taliban had promised a regime that was less strict than it had been between 1996 and 2001.
On Saturday, about 40 women at the Ministry of Education chanted texts such as “Bread, Work and Freedom” and “Justice, Justice, We are tired of ignorance.” They were carrying protest banners and placards. It stated, among other things, that August 15 is a “black day”. Many women did not wear face coverings, although the Taliban did.
Women in Afghanistan are no longer openly expressing their dissatisfaction with their situation. Amnesty International says that women who demonstrate peacefully against persecution are threatened, arrested, detained and tortured.
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