A pro-Taliban women’s rally took place in Afghanistan where, on Saturday, a group of burqa-clad individuals pledged support for the new regime under the fundamentalist organisation. With the Taliban’s white flag in hand and only their eyes visible from behind head-to-toe coverings, about 300 women occupied seats in Kabul University’s lecture halls to attend talks hailing the extremist policies of the new rule.
The Taliban, notorious for limiting human rights in Afghanistan during their previous leadership between 1996 and 2001, have begun pushing back on the work, education, public participation and free movement of women since their return to power on August 15.
As per AFP, rallies in the capital of Kabul held over the weekend comprised women voicing support for the Taliban, with female speakers, addressing a crowd of veiled attendees, slamming protests against the new administration.
“We are against those women who are protesting on the streets, claiming they are representative of women,” one speaker was quoted saying. Another reportedly said that women not donning the hijab (head covering) were “harming” the rest of them.
Visuals of pro-Taliban street demonstrations are also doing rounds on the internet. Protesting women are seen flanked by armed gunmen escorting them.
Pro Taliban women gathering in #Kabul,#Afghnistan pic.twitter.com/hFBKr47npl
— Fakhar Yousafzai (@fakharzai7) September 11, 2021
Following consecutive protests, led largely by Afghan women, in Kabul earlier this week, the Taliban government banned all street agitations unless permitted by them. Tear gas and violence were used to disperse dissenting crowds.
Pro-Taliban Women In Kabul Speak In Favour Of Regime Policies
Taliban spokespersons said in press conferences that women this time will be granted greater rights, as dictated by the Islamic sharia law, but Afghan women have reason to believe these promises are all but highly suspect. The situation on-ground is tense, with women disappearing from public spaces as the interim Taliban government continues to impose restrictions. Here’s what Afghan women are saying.
Since seizing power, the Taliban have banned sports for women claiming it would “expose” their bodies to media, have asked women to work from home, have made the hijab compulsory for women at university, have banned co-education in many places and have instituted an all-male administration with zero female representation.
“Women can’t be ministers. They should give birth”: Taliban’s views on women in politics
Free speech appears to be compromise under the Taliban. While many women journalists and television presenters have fled the country, the recent lashing of male journalists covering women-led anti-Taliban protests raises the alarm of an unfolding human rights crisis.
“What Afghanistan needs is support from the global community to hold those in power accountable for what they are claiming – so people have access to their own funds, can go to work,” Mina Sharif, an Afghan show producer, told SheThePeople, highlighting the pressing issue of Afghan women and girls’ voices going unheard against the intensity of the Taliban’s atrocities.
Image: Aamir Qureshi / AFP