Afghan women challenge the Taliban

For freedom, equality and the right to play sport

Despite their promises of "moderate" rule, the Taliban have announced the end of mixed classes in universities and a ban on sports for Afghan women. Many are taking the streets to denounce the worrying measures, only to be met with violent repression. Cyrielle Cabot reports

Shouting "Freedom, freedom" and "Resistance", anti-Taliban demonstrators took to the streets of several Afghan cities once again on 8 September, as they had sporadically since the group rose to power on 15 August. On the front line were activists, but also dozens of Afghan women claiming the preservation of their rights and their freedom.

The previous day, the Taliban unveiled their interim government. And despite promises of an "inclusive" cabinet, no women were featured on the list. "When the government was announced, things became clear: women will not be present in politics and there will be no tolerance," said one demonstrator in Kabul.

"They can't erase us from society"

"We are on the streets in order to maintain our basic rights: rights to education, to work and to political participation. We want to make the Taliban understand that they cannot erase us from society," a young woman in Kabul said a few days earlier, as reported by the NGO Human Rights Watch.

Since returning to power, the Taliban have tried to show a more tolerant face to the world. But many women fear nevertheless a return to the past: under the first Taliban rule (1996-2001), they vanished from the public space.

© France24 2021

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