Five Female Protesters, 3 Journalists Arrested By Taliban For Staging Demonstration Against Women’s Education Ban

Credit: Human Rights Watch

The latest: The Taliban’s latest decree barring women and girls from university education has been facing a lot of criticism and protests within the country. Apart from mass resignations from professors at universities, male and female students have come to the streets to protest against the Taliban’s decision. On Thursday morning, however, Taliban arrested five female protesters and three journalists who had come to cover the protests.

Go deeper:

  • The Taliban has begun cracking down on dissent and these protesters were arrested by Taliban fighters around 10:00 hrs today.
  • Taliban fighters beat up several protesters from the Dehbori area of Kabul city and even journalists covering the event.
  • According to sources, Taliban have arrested five female protesters, and three journalists who went to cover these protests.
  • Sources added that Taliban have transferred the arrested people to PD03 of Kabul city.
  • Other female protesters managed to flee the area before their detention.
  • On Wednesday too, a number of women had staged a demonstration in front of Kabul University against the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education, but protesters said the group prevented them from gathering and collected their phones.
  • Several male and female students protested at Nangarhar University and in Kabul too. These students chanted “higher education for all or no one”. A video published on social media shows that many male and female students protested on the university campus in eastern Nangarhar province.
  • However, Taliban fighters stormed the universities and prevented girls from attending their classes. Some female students on social media have also posted about the Taliban move by publishing photos of Taliban fighters behind the gates of private and public universities in Kabul.
  • A number of female students in Badakhshan have also warned that if the Taliban do not reconsider their decision, they will protest and go on hunger strike.
  • Coming out in support, the charge d’affaires of US Embassy in Kabul said that the protests, “anger” and solidarity of the Afghan people against banning girls from university are encouraging and that they support them. In a tweet addressed to the Taliban, Karen Decker wrote to the Taliban to consult with the public, it is not too late and to reconsider their decision.
  • Even, Rawadari, a newly-formed human rights organisation stated that it has evidence of individuals affiliated to Taliban issuing threats of detention, torture and death to those protesting Taliban’s latest decision on women’s education.
  • “As de facto authorities, it is Taliban’s responsibility to provide security for protestors and for peaceful assembly of citizens. Taliban have constantly done the opposite by brutally suppressing free speech and peaceful protest,” it stated. The organisation said that all peaceful attempts for reform should be applauded and supported and that suppressing protestors is a violation of their right and will further promote hatred and violence.

Back story: The Taliban on Tuesday, December 20, issued a new decree saying that girls are not allowed into universities and higher education institutions. The Taliban’s recent order has drew widespread criticism both domestic and foreign.

Zoom out: This comes even as Ajmal Haqiqi, an Afghan Youtuber and social media activist has been released from Taliban’s prison. In a video message, he said, “I can’t express my happiness for being released from prison.”

  • Haqiqi didn’t comment about being tortured or beaten up in the Taliban prison. Ajmal Haqiqi and three of his colleagues were arrested five months ago on charges of blasphemy and forced a confession from them.
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