Protests get tougher for Afghan girls amid dangers and pink tape

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Oct 4 (Reuters) – Women in Afghanistan who object to what the Taliban have mentioned and completed since returning to energy are discovering it tougher to protest, now that impromptu demonstrations have been banned and former rallies had been damaged up by gunfire and beatings.

Resistance inside households and considerations over sharing info over social media that might determine individuals concerned are additionally appearing as deterrents, in keeping with six feminine protesters Reuters spoke to throughout the nation.

Sporadic demonstrations by girls demanding that the Taliban respect their civil freedoms have been captured on social media, as have the typically violent responses, drawing the world’s consideration to problems with equality and human rights.

The final time the Taliban dominated within the Nineties, they banned girls from work and ladies from college, allowed girls to go away their properties solely when accompanied by a male family member and insisted that girls wore all-enveloping burqas.

Those who broke the foundations had been typically whipped in public by the Islamist militants’ “moral police”.

This time the Taliban are promising better freedom for ladies, together with in schooling and employment, in accordance with their interpretation of Islamic legislation.

Yet older ladies are nonetheless not again in school, there are not any girls in senior positions within the new authorities, the Women’s Ministry in Kabul has been shut and the Taliban have mentioned girls will solely be allowed to work in a small variety of jobs.

Women wanting to specific their anger publicly are struggling to take action. Six who took half in demonstrations after the Taliban stormed to energy on Aug. 15 mentioned they’d not completed so since early September.

“We have a lot of plans to stage more protests, but unfortunately due to security concerns, we are not going out much right now,” mentioned Nasima Bakhtiary, a former commerce ministry employee in Kabul.

“We have seen so much harassment … regarding our protests … we have to be careful.”

Earlier this month, the Taliban mentioned protests weren’t banned, however that these wanting to carry demonstrations wanted to hunt prior permission and supply particulars of place, timings and slogans that might be chanted.

Taliban spokespeople didn’t reply to requests for remark for this story.

PROTESTS FADE

Based on interviews with organisers, social media posts and advocacy teams, Reuters counted seven important women-led protests between Aug. 15, when the Taliban got here to energy, and Sept 8. after they made permission obligatory.

Since Sept. 8, Reuters has counted one, on Sept. 19 exterior the ladies’s ministry constructing in Kabul after it was shut down. The signal exterior has been switched to that of the Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice – the ethical police.

Maryam Sadat, a 23-year-old legislation pupil and protest organiser in Kabul, mentioned she and a small variety of others had tried to stage an indication on Sept. 30, however it was dispersed by members of the Taliban.

Women have additionally been concerned in broader protests, a few of which have concerned lots of of individuals. Several individuals have been killed, some demonstrators have been overwhelmed and the Taliban have fired warning photographs within the air to disperse crowds.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights final month condemned the violence in opposition to protesters, together with girls.

“As Afghan women and men take to the streets during this time of great uncertainty in their country to press peacefully for their human rights to be respected … it is crucial that those in power listen to their voices,” it mentioned.

Women like Taranom Seyedi mentioned they had been scared to proceed to display.

The 34-year-old girls’s rights activist in Kabul who helped organise a number of the protests there mentioned she had obtained letters saying the Taliban had made an inventory of all the ladies who protested and would conduct home searches for them.

She doesn’t know who despatched the letters, however has erased protest-related content material from her social media accounts as a precaution, and mentioned others had completed so too.

Sadat went additional.

“Since my participation in the protest, I’ve had to relocate twice … My family is terrified, and even my neighbours are concerned and urging me not to join.”

Others spoke of pushback from these near them, together with Zulaikha Akrami, a 24-year-old worldwide relations graduate who labored at a overseas non-profit organisation within the northeastern province of Badakhshan.

“My mother tried to threaten me not to go and said if you go, don’t call me mother,” mentioned Akrami, referring to an indication she attended in Badakhshan on Sept. 8.

She mentioned she recalled her youthful brother telling her: “If they beat you to death, I won’t be there to pick up your body off the street.”

Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui and Parniyan Zemaryalai; Editing by Mike Collett-White

Afghan women's rights defenders and civil activists protest to call on the Taliban for the preservation of their achievements and education, in front of the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

Afghan women's rights defenders and civil activists protest to call on the Taliban for the preservation of their achievements and education, in front of the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

Afghan women's rights defenders and civil activists protest to call on the Taliban for the preservation of their achievements and education, in front of the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer