Afghan women
© AFP/Wakil Kohsar
Taliban fighters fire into the air to disperse Afghan women protesters in Kabul
August 13, 2022
The Taliban violently dispersed a women's protest rally in Afghanistan's capital on Saturday, several days ahead of the first anniversary of the Islamist group's return to power, the news agency AFP has reported.

Around 40 women were chanting "bread, work and freedom" as they approached the education ministry in Kabul, according to the agency. One video, apparently recorded in Kabul and posted on social media, shows Taliban militants firing their weapons into the air to break up an approaching female crowd.

After the protest was dispersed, some women attempted to take shelter in nearby shops but were reportedly pursued and beaten by Taliban fighters using the butts of their guns.

According to AFP, protesters carried a banner reading "August 15 is a black day," an apparent reference to the date of the Taliban takeover one year ago. The demonstrators also reportedly demanded the right to work and participate in politics.

Several journalists covering the rally were assaulted
by Taliban members, the news agency said. Local media also reported that the militants detained more than 10 journalists and media workers.

In August 2021, Taliban militants returned to power in the wake of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. After seizing Kabul, they promised to respect women's rights and encouraged them to return to work.

In December 2021, however, the Taliban released a "decree on women's rights" that glossed over their access to education or work, while a number of experts immediately slammed the militants for returning to the practices they had embraced during their first period of rule that spanned from 1996 to 2001.

An Amnesty International report released in late July claims that "the Taliban's crackdown" in Afghanistan is devastating the lives of women and girls, who are being stripped of their rights to education, work and free movement. The human rights watchdog also reported that those who peacefully protest against the new rules, "have been threatened, arrested, detained, tortured, and forcibly disappeared."