After forming an interim government in Afghanistan with more than a dozen leaders who are designated terrorists and ex-Guantanamo detainees, the Taliban has announced a ban on all demonstrations and is cracking down on protesting women and journalists, while Afghan Christians fear the strict enforcement of Sharia law will lead to heightened persecution.
Taliban fighters used violence to disperse women protesting the formation of a hard-line Taliban regime and detained and beat Afghan journalists who covered the protests in western Kabul’s Karte Char neighborhood on Wednesday, the day the Taliban announced a ban on all slogans, demonstrations and protests that don’t have official approval, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Their government doesn’t count us as citizens of this country even though we are half of the population,” a protesting woman was quoted as saying. “We don’t care if they beat us or even shoot us, we want to defend our rights. We will continue our protests even if we get killed.”
Taliban fighters called the protesting women “agents of America.”
Responding to the protests, the new regime’s interior ministry, which is headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, a member of the Haqqani network that has long been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, warned that such protests would be treated as illegal and participants would face “severe legal consequences” unless approved by authorities at least three hours in advance, The Epoch Times reported.
At a large protest by men and women on Tuesday, members of the Taliban fired shots into the air to disperse the demonstration held outside the Pakistan embassy in Kabul and arrested reporters.
“Taliban authorities claimed that they would allow the media to function so long as they ‘respected Islamic values,’ but they are increasingly preventing journalists from reporting on demonstrations,” Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a report.