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Friday, September 17, 2021

Watch: Afghan women hold street protest as Taliban fighters look on

Four women in black abayas and hijabs were seen holding up signs and shouting slogans even as armed men patrolled nearby. In another clip, shared by an Al Jazeera correspondent, more women were seen marching through the streets, chanting slogans.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 18, 2021 2:32:29 pm
Four women in black abayas and hijabs were seen holding up signs and shouting slogans even as armed men patrolled nearby. (Screengrab: Twitter/@leahmcelrath)

As thousands of Afghans attempt to flee Taliban rule following their brutal takeover, videos emerged on social media of a small group of women holding placards and demanding equal rights on the streets of Kabul — reportedly the first agitation of its kind since the militant group seized control of the country.

Four women in black abayas and hijabs were seen holding up signs and shouting slogans even as Taliban fighters patrolled nearby. In another clip, shared by an Al Jazeera correspondent, more women were seen marching through the streets, chanting slogans. The armed men seem to be pointing and speaking to the women, but don’t appear to be getting in the way of their protest.

On Tuesday, Taliban representatives promised to protect the rights of women — which was a major concern given the militant group’s history of clamping down on women’s rights and freedoms. Notably, when they were last in power, women were largely confined to their homes, not allowed to study or work, and could only travel if accompanied by a male chaperone.

“We are going to allow women to work and study. We have got frameworks, of course. Women are going to be very active in the society but within the framework of Islam,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s spokesman, said at a press conference in Kabul. Since it managed swiftly to seize control of many cities across the country with minimal resistance over the last few weeks, the Taliban has sought to portray a more moderate front as compared to its brutal regime over two decades ago.

But activists and world leaders are raising concerns about history repeating itself, pointing at possible human rights violations that are likely to take place under the Taliban’s rule. One of Afghanistan’s first female mayors, Zarifa Ghafari, earlier said she had no option but to wait for the Taliban to come and kill her.”

Kabul fell to the Taliban Sunday, completing their takeover of the country in a lightning offensive that saw provinces and warlords give up without a fight, days after the hasty withdrawal of US troops.

President Ashraf Ghani had fled the country, hours after Pakistan-backed Taliban fighters showed up on the outskirts of Kabul and their chiefs demanded transfer of power to avoid bloodshed.

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