Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last month, the global community has loudly vocalized concern that the rights of women and girls will be cruelly stamped out under the new regime.
The Taliban, in an apparent attempt to portray itself as a legitimate government to the global community, has claimed it will work to protect the rights of women — as long as it’s consistent with Islam, of course.
This has not assuaged concerns that the basic civil rights afforded Afghan women under the now-deposed, U.S.-backed Afghan regime will be preserved, nor that the group won’t force strict conditions on women such as the requirement to be covered head-to-foot and accompanied by a male escort when in public, as was the case under Taliban control from 1996-2001.
A group of very brave women demonstrated in Kabul on Saturday to advocate for women’s rights in the yet-to-be-established Taliban-led government.
According to reports, Taliban forces ultimately fired live ammo into the air and used tear gas to disperse the crowd, and by some accounts, beat women with rifle butts.
The Hill reported that before the violent dispersal, the Taliban members had told the women they’d be given their rights — within the framework of Islam, at least.
The New York Times, meanwhile, portrayed a more violent interaction.
“They pushed everybody away and forced us to leave while chasing us with their spray, weapons and metal devices,” a witness told outlet.
“The Taliban kept cursing, using abusive language,” she explained.
The outlet reported that video aired on Afghan media outlets showed one Taliban member yelling at the women to disperse through a megaphone before it was snatched out of his hand by the women.
Although the march seems to have led to violent clashes, there is no doubt it was carried out by profoundly brave women, who, as one woman told The Associated Press, felt they had no other option than to make their voices heard.
“I am the voice of the women who are unable to speak,” the demonstrator told the outlet. “They think this is a man’s country but it is not, it is a woman’s country too.”
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