A Real Kind of Women's March Takes Place in Kabul as Women There Demand Role in Government

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Posted: Sep 05, 2021 6:30 PM
A Real Kind of Women's March Takes Place in Kabul as Women There Demand Role in Government

Source: AP Photo/Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi

Over the weekend, women bravely marched in Afghanistan, as reported on by the Associated Press, which also provided updates. 

As Kathy Gannon reported on Friday:

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A small group of Afghan women protested near the presidential palace in Kabul on Friday, demanding equal rights from the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new rulers work on forming a government and seeking international recognition

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The protest in Kabul was the second women’s protest in as many days, with the other held in the western city of Herat. Around 20 women with microphones gathered under the watchful eyes of Taliban gunmen, who allowed the demonstration to proceed.

The women demanded access to education, the right to return to work and a role in governing the country. “Freedom is our motto. It makes us proud,” read one of their signs.

However, as the situation is best summed up:

The Taliban have promised an inclusive government and a more moderate form of Islamic rule than when they last ruled the country from 1996 to 2001. But many Afghans, especially women, are deeply skeptical and fear a rollback of rights gained over the last two decades.

Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, the Taliban broke up the march with gunfire, after promises that they would respect women. Just a day later, Gannon reported that "Taliban special forces bring abrupt end to women’s protest."

As she wrote in yesterday's report:

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban special forces in camouflage fired their weapons into the air Saturday, bringing an abrupt and frightening end to the latest protest march in the capital by Afghan women demanding equal rights from the new rulers.

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The women’s march — the second in as many days in Kabul — began peacefully. Demonstrators laid a wreath outside Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry to honor Afghan soldiers who died fighting the Taliban before marching on to the presidential palace.

“We are here to gain human rights in Afghanistan,” said 20-year-old protester Maryam Naiby. “I love my country. I will always be here.”

As the protesters’ shouts grew louder, several Taliban officials waded into the crowd to ask what they wanted to say. 

Flanked by fellow demonstrators, Sudaba Kabiri, a 24-year-old university student, told her Taliban interlocutor that Islam’s Prophet gave women rights and they wanted theirs. The Taliban official promised women would be given their rights but the women, all in their early 20s, were skeptical. 

As the demonstrators reached the presidential palace, a dozen Taliban special forces ran into the crowd, firing in the air and sending demonstrators fleeing. Kabiri, who spoke to The Associated Press, said they also fired tear gas.

The media and the Biden administration seemed to have possibly been foolish enough to take any stock in, which young women like Kabiri seem to know better about. 

Even Gannon's own reporting emphasized assurances the Taliban have made about women's rights. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is one such member of the administration in particular who has referenced such assurances about women's rights from the Taliban. There's also a statement from the international community--led by the United States--which expects the Taliban to live up to expectations, which the administration likes to tout

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Women's March is planning a protest over a Texas law that recently went into effect that restricts most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, at around six weeks. 

In a Saturday column for Townhall, Mary Szoch aptly highlights how "Biden Claims to Protect Women While Sending Afghanistan’s Back to the Stone Age," which also touches upon the pro-life issue. 

In Afghanistan, women are facing a lack of representation in government and an almost certain return to oppression at the hands of the Taliban. In contrast, this Congress has seen a record amount of women serving, with women making up 27 percent of total seats counting both the Senate and House.