Taliban Halt Women's Protest With Force

Fighters report advances on pocket of resistance in mountains of northern Afghanistan
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2021 2:55 PM CDT
Taliban Use Force Against Female Protesters
Demonstrators call for women's rights under Taliban rule Saturday in Kabul.   (AP Photo/Kathy Gannon)

The Taliban fought different types of resistance Saturday as they tried to make control of Afghanistan total. Despite assurances that the brutal reign of the past won't be repeated, Taliban fighters used violence to shut down a protest by about 100 women in Kabul, the New York Times reports. One demonstrator said that the fighters used tear gas, rifle butts, and metal clubs to break up the protest and that she received five stiches in her head after being knocked unconscious while trying to continue marching. "They pushed everybody away and forced us to leave while chasing us with their spray, weapons and metal devices," the woman said. "The Taliban kept cursing, using abusive language."

The Taliban were trying to stop the women from marching to the presidential palace, the Afghan news network TOLO reported. A TOLO video showed a man with a megaphone telling demonstrators, "We will pass your message to the elders," per CNN. Video posted on social media showed activist Narjis Sadat bleeding from her head; she said she was beaten at the protest. A Taliban official said the rally was "a deliberate attempt to cause problems," adding that "these people don't even represent 0.1% of Afghanistan." In similar protests Friday in Kabul, and Wednesday in Herat, demonstrators called for women's rights and role in the Taliban government, which hasn't been formed yet.

A spokesman said Saturday that Taliban fighters made "considerable advances" in northern Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley, where they've been pressing an offensive against resistance fighters for two weeks. The Taliban has seized four districts, the spokesman said. They're fighting a multi-ethnic group that includes former members of the Afghan security force, the National Resistance Front. The inaccessible, mountainous region north of Kabul also hosted resistance forces during the previous Taliban rule. "We are under invasion by the Taliban," said Amrullah Saleh, former vice president of Afghanistan, in a video. He fled Kabul for Panjshir last month. "We will not surrender, we are standing for Afghanistan," he said. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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