Wednesday, June 26, 2024
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Afghan women demand education and work at Kabul protest

KABUL (AFP) – About two dozen Afghan women chanting “bread, work, freedom” protested in the capital yesterday against the Taleban’s harsh restrictions on their rights.

Since seizing power in August, the Taleban have rolled back the marginal gains made by women during the two decades of United States intervention in Afghanistan.

“Education is my right! Re-open schools!” chanted the protesters, many of them wearing face-covering veils, as they gathered in front of the ministry of education.

Demonstrators marched for a few hundred metres before ending the rally as authorities deployed Taleban fighters in plain clothes, an AFP correspondent reported.

“We wanted to read out a declaration but the Taleban didn’t allow it,” said protester Zholia Parsi.

“They took the mobile phones of some girls and also prevented us from taking photos or videos of our protest.”

After seizing power, the Taleban had promised a softer version of the harsh extremist rule that characterised their first stint in power from 1996 to 2001.

But many restrictions have already been imposed.

Tens of thousands of girls have been shut out of secondary schools, while women have been barred from returning to many government jobs.

Women have also been banned from travelling alone and can only visit public gardens and parks in the capital on days separate from men.

This month, the country’s supreme leader and Taleban Chief Hibatullah Akhundzada said women should generally stay at home.

They were ordered to conceal themselves completely, including their faces, should they need to go out in public.