Several journalists were attacked by the Taliban while they were attempting to cover a women’s rights protest in Kabul on Thursday.
According to reports, a group of 20 women organized a march from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Finance in the Afghan capital. Wearing colourful headscarves, they shouted slogans like: “Don’t politicise education,” shortly before 10 am.
The women were holding placards saying: “We don’t have the right to study and work,” and “joblessness, poverty, hunger,” as they walked with their arms in the air.
AFP journalists say the Taliban authorities allowed the women to walk freely for around an hour and a half. However, one foreign journalist was struck with the butt of a rifle by a Taliban fighter, 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 fighters swinging fists and launching kicks.
Zahra Mohammadi, an organizer of the protest, told newsmen that women were marching despite the risks they face. “The Taliban don’t respect anything: not journalists — foreign or local – or women,” she said. “Schools must reopen for girls. But the Taliban took this right from us,” she said.
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.
“My message to all girls and women is this: don’t be afraid of the Taliban, even if your family doesn’t allow you to leave your home. Don’t be afraid. Go out, make sacrifices, fight for your rights,” Mohammadi said.
“We have to make this sacrifice so that the next generation will be in peace,” she added.