Several dozen women have taken to the streets to protest in the Afghan capital Kabul. The protests are against the treatment of women in the country under the Taliban regime, and for greater economic rights for Afghans in general.
During the protests, the women could be heard shouting “bread, work, freedom“, and held banners that read “Education is my right! Reopen schools!“
Most of the women were wearing full veil coverings as dictated by the ultra-conservative Taliban government.
Protester Zholia Parsi, told foreign news journalists:
“We wanted to read out a declaration but the Taliban didn’t allow it. They took the mobile phones of some girls and also prevented us from taking photos or videos of our protest.”
The Taliban retook the country after Western forces withdrew from the country after a 20-year occupation. The remaining Afghan army collapsed within a matter of days, allowing the Taliban to reinstall their extreme Islamic regime that had run the country between 1996 and 2001.
Under that regime, women were banned from leaving home without permission or without a male chaperone, they were forced to wear full veil coverings, and their access to education and public services was minimal. While the new Taliban regime has claimed it will be more liberal it has already begun rolling back women’s access to education and marginalising them in other sectors.
Recently, Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada said women should under most circumstances stay at home.
Following the return of the Taliban, there were a number of female-led protests against the new regime. However, these were quickly put down by the security services.
Afghanistan has also been left in a dire economic state following the withdrawal of Western forces and the drying up of foreign investment and aid. This has left millions on the verge of starvation, amidst rising food prices and failing harvests. Some aid agencies suggest Afghanistan could have the worst famine in the world this year, and that hundreds of thousands could lose their lives.
[Based on reporting by: Alarabiya News]