As the Taliban take over the reigns of the Afghan government, the role of women in various facets of society have become precarious. From gender-segregated classes to prohibiting to unequivocally stating that women should not be allowed to play sports - there have been many concerning developments.
More recently, women protesting on the streets of Kabul for equal rights were horrifically attacked by Taliban fighters. As per reports quoting the protesters, they were stopped, lashed with whips and beaten with batons that emitted electric shocks. The protests came less than a day after the Taliban announced a new all-male interim Cabinet and abolished the women's affairs ministry.
Visuals of the altercation had soon gone viral, with photos of women sporting injuries prompting widespread outrage. Now, updates suggest that those covering the protests have also been attacked by the militants. Images of journalists with injuries on their body have since surfaced, with the posts indicating that they were attacked by the Taliban for covering the protests.
The photos have been shared by many verified Twitter handles including international journalists.
Afghan women have spent 20 years reclaiming the public space they were so brutally denied from 1996 to 2001 under Taliban rule. They have led provinces and cities, joined the police force, competed in the Olympics, and become engineers, doctors and diplomats, often defying gender stereotypes. They have advocated for social change, human rights and peace, demanding to be listened to.
Now as the new administration takes over, global bodies and foreign administrations insist that acceptance will depend on how the Taliban perform. "Women's rights must be the litmus test for our collective engagement with the Taliban," reports quoted Mohammad Naciri, UN Women Regional Director for the Asia Pacific as saying.
(With inputs from agencies)