Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, they have tried to display a moderate face. But, as each day passes, their true nature surfaces.

Afghanistan. Women protesting the Taliban on September 8. Photo supplied.

The Taliban claim to have changed in their point of view towards women — and Western experts and analysts have given support to their claims — however, from the very first day, it was clear that nothing had changed. And once again, women will be their very first victims.

In response to the repressions by the Taliban, a surge of protests have started in many cities.

The first protest rally of women was held on September 1, in Herat city, followed by Kabul, Mazar and Nimruz. No organisation or political party has taken responsibility for these protests, and the protesters try to hide their identity to avoid Taliban retaliation.

The protesters hold handwritten placards against the Taliban and for freedom of women. One of the placards went viral, asking the people of Afghanistan: “Don’t be afraid, we are all together!” And on the next day, another group of protesters slightly changed the same text, this time addressing the Taliban: “Be afraid, because we are all together!”

One of the protesters, who didn’t want to reveal her name, said: “The human rights and women’s rights have been violated by Taliban. We are here to express our objection and raise our voice.

“Nobody can put us in the cage! We will continue with our struggle and will never stay silent. We want to study in any field, work in any field and be part of political movements.

“No regime can suppress us.”

The Taliban took control of Panjshir valley on September 6, with the support of Pakistani fighter jets. Two days earlier, Faiz Hameed, Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan made a sudden trip to Kabul and caused uproar among Afghan citizens for supporting the Taliban and interfering in Afghanistan’s internal issues.

Thousands of woman protesters gathered on September 7 in front of the Pakistani embassy in Kabul, chanting: “Pakistan, leave Afghanistan!”, “Pakistan go back!”

They walked towards the presidential palace, where Taliban militia tried to disburse the protesters by firing guns in the air. They arrested some of the protesters and journalists.

However, nothing stops women and today the protest goes on.

Zohal Silaab

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