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The Taliban’s Guide to Shutting Down Protests

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According to Human Rights Watch, International Human Rights Law protects people’s right to peacefully assemble and prevents authorities’ unnecessary restrictions on such gatherings. But, the Taliban forces, this past week, went the extra mile to make protests ‘a crime’ which required threats, assault and illegal breaking and entering. Let’s give you some context.

On Tuesday, thirty women gathered near a mosque in the centre of Kabul chanting “justice, justice”. The protestors called for women’s rights to be respected and accused Taliban authorities of covertly killing soldiers who served with the United States backed government.

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Since the Taliban took power on August 15, women have complained that they are now prisoners in their own homes. And despite the government promise of greater freedom for women: older girls are not in school, the Women’s Ministry in Kabul has been shut, and there are no women in senior positions in the new government. In fact, authorities are also preventing television channels from broadcasting serials featuring female actors.

Women wanting to express their anger publicly are struggling to do so since protests have been banned since the takeover. Protests – you know, the cornerstone of good governance which the authorities in Afghanistan chucked out the window. But, how did they do that? 

Taliban’s Response 

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The Taliban forces prevented journalists from covering the march. They also detained a group of reporters, confiscated their equipment, deleting images from their cameras before returning them. The Human Rights Watch also reports escalation during the gatherings with Taliban members assaulting one of the protestors and using an electric device to shock two others.

As women protested the demand for work and education, the forces also fired pepper spray. And the gathering was eventually dispersed by Taliban fighters. The Deccan Herald reported:

At least 130 women attended the protest in Kabul, and shots fired in the air by the Taliban militants trying to disperse the demonstrators prompted the fleeing protesters to fall and trample one another. Several women sustained injuries in the stampede.

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The government has also issued guidelines preventing women from travelling long-distance alone unless escorted by male relatives. 

Further on Wednesday night, armed men entered and raided a protestor’s apartment in Kabul and according to reports grabbed her from the premises. 

Read more news here.

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