The Taliban’s violent crackdown on a women’s rights demonstration in Kabul last weekend marks an alarming and unlawful escalation of efforts to suppress peaceful protest and free speech in Afghanistan.
Human Rights Watch spoke with two protesters and a witness and reviewed video footage of the incident.
Armed Taliban members were already present when women gathered at a planned meeting place on January 16, reinforcing organizers’ fears that the authorities had infiltrated their communications. Some fled when they saw the Taliban, but about 25 women started marching to Kabul University as planned. Taliban members pointed firearms at the marchers, threatening and insulting them, calling them “puppets of the West” and “whores.” One protester said Taliban members also assaulted bystanders filming the protest and took their phones, which an AFP reporter confirmed. Continue Reading