In yet another violent crackdown by the Taliban, the hardline Islamist group on Thursday; opened fire on a small gathering of women’s rights demonstrators to disperse them.
The Islamist group fired shots into the air and pushed back the protesters, reported news agency AFP.
The incident, which adds to another of Taliban’s atrocities in Afghanistan after it came back to power last month; took place when a group of six women gathered outside a high school in eastern Kabul to demand the right for girls to return to secondary school.
Notably, the Taliban excluded them from classes earlier this month.
During the protest, women unfurled a banner that read “Don’t break our pens, don’t burn our books; don’t close our schools” but Taliban guards snatched it from them, reported AFP.
Not only that, they pushed back the women protesters when they refused to halt the demonstration.
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A foreign journalist was reportedly hit with a rifle and blocked from filming.
As witnessed by AFP journalists, a Taliban fighter opened fire into the air with his automatic weapon.
The demonstrators — from a group called the “Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women Activists” — took refuge inside the school.
A Taliban guard told AFP that the demonstrators “did not coordinate with security authorities regarding their protest”.
“They have the right to protest in our country like every other country. But they must inform the security institutes before,” he said.
This is not the first time that women staged a protest in Afghanistan after the Taliban- known for its ultra-conservative Islamist rule- returned to power after the previous government under Ashraf Ghani collapsed. There have been many such protests staged by women since.
But protests have dwindled since the government issued an order that unsanctioned demonstrations and warned of “severe legal action” for violators.