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Airing Objections

Well, people may say that there were 30 women in all, and those many women recently shook the Afghan capital of Kabul, by holding a rally near a local Mosque! They staged protests against the mysterious killing of young men, especially those who were somehow involved with the previous Afghan Army. Their slogans, demanding justice, broke the silence near the Mosque. Those women marched forward only a few hundred metres, and then, the armed Taliban fighters blocked their way.

This happened in front of a few representatives of the international media, a couple of weeks ago. The Taliban fighters allegedly detained several journalists and photojournalists during the protest march. They snatched their cameras, deleted all the pictures, and then returned them to the photojournalists. Although the Talibans blocked their path, the protesting women sent a strong message to the Global Community with their anti-Taliban slogans. Protester Laila Basam said that they wanted the Taliban “to stop its criminal machine“. She also said that the former soldiers and Government employees of the old regime were “under direct threat“, as the Taliban violated a general amnesty announced by them in August 2021.

Afghan women hold placards during a protest in Kabul, demanding an end to the extrajudicial killings by the Taliban

After taking full control of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Deobandi-Pashtun Islamic fundamentalist, militant Islamist, and jihadist political movement and military organisation announced that it would include the Afghan women in the decision-making process. The Taliban had also announced that they would forgive their opponents. Later, they imposed a ban on unauthorised protests, and severely suppressed the voice of common people in the pretext of religion. As per separate reports prepared by the UN and two International Human Rights organisations, there have been more than 100 extrajudicial killings since the Taliban seized power. The Afghan women staged protests in Kabul a few weeks after the publication of those reports.

Organisers reportedly urged women to join the march, by using social media. Protester Nayera Koahistani stressed: “I want to tell the world, tell the Taliban to stop killing. We want Freedom, we want Justice, we want Human Rights.” She strongly criticised the Taliban for not allowing women to travel long distances without a male family member. “Women’s Rights are Human Rights. We must defend our Rights,” added Koahistani. Meanwhile, online video footage showed women’s protests held elsewhere in Kabul, calling for women to be allowed education and work opportunities.

Watch: Taliban under pressure to respect women’s rights

Political experts are of the opinion that women’s protests would not be able to initiate a change in the character of the top Taliban leadership. However, those would certainly have an impact on the Global Community, as many countries would not recognise the Taliban-led Government in the war-ravaged South Asian country in near future. Experts believe that the Afghan women have gradually become the voice of the common people in the second Taliban Regime.

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