KABUL: Afghan women protested in the capital on Monday against the Taliban’s draconian infringement of their rights, carrying placards that read “food, work, and freedom.”
Since coming into power last year, the Taliban have rolled back the hard-won achievements by women throughout the two decades of US presence in Afghanistan.
“It is my right to have an education! Schools must reopen! “ chanted the women demonstrators who had assembled in front of the Taliban’s Ministry of Education – many of whom were wearing face-covering veils.
“We wanted to read out a declaration, but the Taliban wouldn’t let us,” Zholia Parsi, one of the protesters, said, “They seized several girls’ cellphones and prohibited us from photographing or filming our protest.”
This comes as thousands of girls have been prevented from attending secondary schools, and many women have been barred from returning to government employment.
Women are also prohibited from traveling alone and are only permitted to visit public gardens and parks in the capital on days when men do not accompany them.
Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s supreme leader, declared last month that women should generally stay at home. If they had to go out in public, they must hide their faces with veils.
This restrictive move against Afghan women, which sparked international controversy, is reminiscent of the Taliban’s early reign in 1990’s when women were forced to wear the cover-all burqa.