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Afghanistan

Taliban beat women with whips, sticks for protesting all-male interim govt

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The Taliban beat women with whips and sticks on Wednesday for holding protests in Afghanistan’s capital city following the appointment of an all-male interim government, according to witnesses and several news reports.

Witnesses told local media sources that Taliban fighters beat several women at the protests and arrested journalists covering the events.

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In a video shared by Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Poland Tahir Qadiry on Twitter, a Taliban fighter flogged a demonstrator as several women scream and run away.

Groups of women marched through the streets of Kabul on Wednesday, demanding that the Taliban uphold their rights and appoint women in cabinet.

“We want equal rights, we want women in government,” the women were heard chanting.

A video filmed in Kabul’s Dasht-e- Barchi showed Taliban fighters trying to stop a group of women from protesting as the women carried on chanting: “Cabinet without women is unsuccessful.”

The Taliban on Tuesday announced a new interim government made up of extremists, one of which is on the FBI’s most-wanted list.

Despite promising an inclusive government, their appointment might set back the progress made in Afghanistan on women’s rights, activists feared.

When the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, women were completely banned from public places without the presence of a male guardian and confined to their homes. Girls were not allowed to attend school, women were prohibited from studying and working, and were obligated to wear a burqa that covered their faces and bodies entirely.

Anyone who defied the extremist group’s strict interpretation of Sharia law was beaten and sometimes even killed.

Taliban crackdown on journalists and activists

The situation is only expected to become more “bleak” as the Taliban continue to impose their control on Afghans, Rabia Latif Khan, an activist with a PhD on Hazara ethnic consciousness from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London told Al Arabiya English.

Those who “do not confirm to the Taliban’s warped interpretation of Sharia” face real threats of violence, she added.

“Silencing of dissent is a real possibility as well as the curtailing of fundamental rights and liberties,” Khan said.

“Violent reprisals against those who have been vocal critics of the movement [will] definitely occur. It is important to remember that the Taliban have not ruled out stoning and executions of criminals,” she told Al Arabiya English. “Who is deemed a criminal is at the discretion of the Taliban, which means anyone who has been critical of the movement, or their ideology faces a very real threat of persecution.”

At least five journalists covering the Kabul protests were detained by the Taliban and brutally beaten, according to local media reports.

Reporters from Etilaatroz, a daily newspaper in Kabul, were arrested and tortured by members of the extremist group, videos and pictures circulating on Twitter showed.

Ambassador Qadiry shared a video on Wednesday of two men helping their badly injured coworker walk after the Taliban had detained him for reporting on the demonstrations.

He also shared a graphic image that showed an Etilaatroz journalist with whip marks all over his back.

“A reporter from Etilaatroz who went out to cover the peaceful protest in Kabul today is brutally whipped. This is 21st century, this is Afghanistan of 2021,” Qadiry said in a tweet.

The last time the Taliban ruled the country from 1996-2001 there was no independent media and the Internet was in its infancy, according to Reuters.

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