Witnesses say Taliban fired warning shots at Afghan female protesters

Witnesses say Taliban security forces in Afghanistan fired warning shots Tuesday to disperse a group of female activists in Kabul protesting restrictions placed on women in the country.

The women marched through the streets of the Afghan capital toward the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which enforces Islamic law as interpreted by the Taliban. Protesters held banners reading, “We are tired of discrimination” along with, “We are the voice of hungry people.”

Other banners read, “We women wake up and hate discrimination,” and “Why have you closed schools?” Protesters demanded work, food and education.

One participant, Hoda Khamush, told VOA that Taliban forces resorted to firing in the air to disperse the participants who tried to enter the building, which had housed the Women’s Affairs Ministry under the deposed Western-backed Afghan government

Khamush alleged the violence injured some protesters but VOA could not independently verify the claim. Taliban officials did not immediately offer any comment on the incident.

The Taliban has allowed schoolboys to return to classes but girls across many Afghan provinces are still waiting for permission to do so and most women have been prevented from returning to work.

Last month, the Taliban’s ministry ordered Afghan channels to stop showing dramas and soap operas featuring actresses, and female news anchors to wear hijabs while on the air.

The United States and the global community at large have not recognized the new Taliban government. They are refusing to open direct political engagement with the Islamist group until it ensures respect for human rights.

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