Photos: Afghan Women Are Protesting For Their Rights

By Hannah Bloch NPR

Day after day this month, Afghan women have taken to the streets in groups large and small to protest against Taliban rule, the regime’s new curbs on their rights and Pakistan’s influence in Afghanistan. “We want equal rights, we want women in government,” women chanted in Kabul this week. Others shouted and held up signs for azadi, or freedom. Some women held signs with a question in English: “Why the world is watching us silently and cruelly?”

In response, the Taliban have at times used force — wielding whips, beating women with batons, pointing guns and firing weapons into the air.

There are no women in the Taliban’s newly named interim cabinet, and the new rulers lost no time in abolishing the country’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

“What a woman does, she cannot do the work of a ministry. You put something on her neck that she cannot carry,” a Taliban spokesman told Afghanistan’s TOLOnews.

On the streets, ads showing women’s faces have been blacked out, and Taliban members erased street art and murals that had often conveyed public service messages.

The protests have continued despite a Taliban ban on demonstrations without government permission. Also, the Taliban have so far detained more than a dozen journalists covering the protests, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Some Afghan journalists have been severely beaten.

Here are some scenes from protests this month.

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