At least three journalists were beaten up by Taliban members armed with M16 assault rifles and AK-47s for reporting on women marching in Kabul in support of women’s participation in society, education and employment.
The Taliban officials have struck several journalists to prevent media coverage of a women’s rights protest in Kabul.
A group of about 20 women marched from near the ministry of education to the ministry of finance in the Afghan capital.
Wearing colourful headscarves they chanted slogans including: “Don’t politicise education”, as traffic drove by shortly before 10 am.
The women held placards saying: “We don’t have the rights to study and work”, and” “Joblessness, poverty, hunger”, as they walked with their arms in the air.
The Taliban authorities allowed the women to walk freely for around an hour and a half, AFP journalists saw.
However, one foreign journalist was struck with the butt of a rifle by one Taliban member, who swore and kicked the photographer in the back as another punched him.
At least two more journalists were hit as they scattered, pursued by Taliban members swinging fists and launching kicks.
Taliban strike journalists at Kabul women's rights protest #AFP https://t.co/HeX7ELZc3e
📸 @Kilicbil pic.twitter.com/PVEMJ5Kpmm
— Aurelia BAILLY (@AureliaBAILLY) October 21, 2021
‘Taliban doesn’t respect journalists’
Zahra Mohammadi, one of the protest organisers, told AFP the women were marching despite the risks they face.
“The situation is that the Taliban don’t respect anything: not journalists — foreign and local — or women,” she said.
“The schools must reopen to girls. But the Taliban took this right from us.”
High school girls have been blocked from returning to classes for more than a month, while many women have been banned from returning to work since the Taliban seized power in mid-August.
Children walked alongside the protest in downtown Kabul, although it was unclear if they were part of the organised group.
Some Taliban fighters policing the march wore full camouflaged combat gear, including body armour, helmets and knee pads, while others were wearing traditional Afghan clothing.
Their weapons included US-made M16 assault rifles and AK-47s.
Unthinkable under the group’s last rule in the 1990s, Afghans have staged street protests across the country since the Taliban returned to power, sometimes with several hundred people and many with women at forefront.
But a ban on unauthorised demonstrations has meant protests against Afghanistan’s new masters have dwindled.
Women again protest in Kabul today, demanding Taliban to let the girls return to school. It’s almost 34 days that the Taliban banned girls returning to school.#Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/9o9hRmSEtt
— Zahra Rahimi (@ZahraSRahimi) October 21, 2021
Source: TRTWorld and agencies