Taliban fighters disperse women’s protest in Kabul

Taliban fighters fired into the air on Saturday to disperse a rare women’s protest in the Afghan capital, days ahead of the first anniversary of the hardline Islamists’ return to power.

About 40 women – chanting “Bread, work and freedom” – marched in front of the education ministry before a group of Taliban fighters dispersed them by firing their guns into the air, an AFP correspondent reported.

Almost one year ago, the Taliban seized Kabul and – for the second time – took control of Afghanistan. The fall followed the withdrawal of foreign troops and a lightning offensive across rural, then urban areas by the hardline group.

Despite promises to offer a more progressive leadership, the Taliban have been accused of multiple human rights violations. Over the past year there has been a growing repression on women’s rights.

Girls are banned from secondary schools in the vast majority of Afghanistan’s provinces. Women are banned from most employment.

Females at universities face harsh new restrictions, and many female teachers have been dismissed

The Taliban have introduced a policy demanding women are chaperoned by a male family member and enforced tighter restrictions on female clothing.

Nevertheless, despite repeated acts of brutality and the countries spiraling economic crisis, female activist continue to demand equally opportunities and basic freedoms.

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