Security forces in Afghanistan fired in the air to disperse a protest led by women in the capital Kabul on Tuesday, December 28. Scores of women at different locations took to the streets demanding their right to education, employment and freedom of movement. They also protested the policies of the Taliban administration.
The protesters claimed that the Taliban government has denied them their basic rights. The government has failed to live up to its promise of reopening the girls’ schools in the country with such institutions functioning only in some provinces. The majority of women are still not allowed to resume work with the Taliban claiming that the conditions are yet not conducive.
Recently, the government imposed fresh restrictions on women’s movement beyond a certain distance without a male relative and mandated a hijab.
The bar on women working has led many families to struggle for food. Afghanistan is already suffering from a large-scale economic crisis caused by years of war, droughts and international sanctions with the UN saying there is near universal poverty in the country. The sudden halt to foreign aid and the US withholding around USD 10 billion of Afghan assets has led to a further deterioration of the economic situation in the country.
Dozens of women had also carried out a small protest a day before on the same issue, also demanding that the international community recognize the needs of people in Afghanistan and provide humanitarian aid.
Women gathered in Kabul today to protest "restrictions against girls’ education and women’s right to work" and called on the intl community to not abandon Afghan women. They also urged countries to provide aid in response to the hunger crisis.#TOLOnews pic.twitter.com/9QyfN9Yat2
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) December 27, 2021
Tolo News quoted several protesters who denounced such moves saying that “our schools are closed, they [Taliban] took away our working opportunities, now they ordered us not to go out of our homes alone.”
Since coming to power, the Taliban administration has banned all unsanctioned protests. Nonetheless, affected sections have defied the rule and taken to the streets on various occasions. Various people took to social media in support of the protesters asking the government to listen to the demands raised by peaceful protesters and address their grievances.
Taliban leaders should invite these women protestors, & women leaders respectively to a meeting, listen to them and start addressing their concerns. These women have no rocket science demands. They want their jobs, safety for their families & community from threats.
— Madam Frogh (@FroghWazhma) December 28, 2021
Some protesters also raised the issue of the alleged extrajudicial killings of soldiers who had served in the previous US-backed administration. Over the past few days, a video of an ex-solider being tortured has gone viral which has led to outrage on social media with many accusing the Taliban administration of violating its promises. Earlier this month, the UN also claimed that it had received credible information about the extrajudicial killing of around 100 former Afghan national security forces personnel and those affiliated with the previous administration.
The Taliban had announced a general amnesty following its takeover in August. It has often denied any role in the killings reported by international agencies saying that most of them were due to personal enmities and grudges. Tolo News quoted Anas Haqqani, a member of the Taliban government, as saying on Tuesday that everyone should respect the general amnesty announced by the government and “taking personnel revenge should be avoided.”