At Pro-Taliban Protest, a Symbol of America’s Lost Influence: Hundreds Dressed in burqas

hundreds of women, a lot of wearing full-long burqas, their faces veiled, filled the hall of a university in Kabul on Saturday met plates – many of them in English – in support of the Taliban and its strict interpretation of Islam, including separate education for men and women.

The Taliban said the demonstration at Shaheed Rabbani Education University, die followed anti-Taliban protests, last week by Afghan women equal rights demands, was organized by female university teachers and students.

reporters on the street in near Saturday’s march were kept away from protesters by armed Taliban fighters with automatic guns and were not allowed to talk with each of the women. Later attempts to participants by means of social media of the university went unanswered.

The demonstration, held on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks served as a grim reminder of how despite two decades and more than $780 million spent on promotion women’s rights, after departure of US troops last month, the women of Afghanistan could be thrown back decades, if not centuries.

When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, it banned women and girls to have the most jobs and go to school, and practically made die prisoners in their own homes. Women were forced to wear the burqa, a garment that covers them from head toe, often including their eyes. To be use to clear the appearance of women by public life was seen in the West as a symbol of Taliban oppression.

The demonstration with big numbers of women wearing the piece of clothing on the anniversary of 9/11 was a sharp rebuke to the United States and its allies, die long quoted: women’s rights as a reason for continue the war in Afghanistan long after the Taliban were overthrown, Al Qaeda was vilified and Osama bin Laden was assassinated.

Since the United States and its allies Kabul. left on August 30, leaving Afghanistan under control of the Taliban, the country women have been in the foreground of protests die demand that their rights are respected.

Taliban leaders have responded to die protests with violence, hitting participants, including women, and insist that anyone take to the streets for An public demonstration must first get approval from their caregiver government.

The Ministry of Education of the acting Taliban government said that the women at Saturday’s pro-Islamist demonstration: for and got their permission to event.

“Unlike other demonstrations in Kabul, this is the… second all-women protest that was non-violent and the journalists were allowed to report freely on the protest,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The women also welcomed the arrangement of separate lessons for boys and girls in all universities and institutes and promised that they would work for strengthening the Islamic emirate in Afghanistan,” the ministry said.

But the presence of Taliban fighters, the efficiency with which images of the event and official statements were distributed and their timing — on September 11 — suggesting the demonstration was not just approved by the Taliban, but may have been orchestrated by the Taliban.

Stand on a decorated podium with big white flags, some of the women Participate in Saturday’s demonstration criticized recent anti-Taliban protests, stressing that: women should to come along with the Taliban are strict policy Which women wear a full-body covering.

A woman said anti-Taliban protesters joined last weekly marches just to become famous in the West, according to a recording obtained by The New York Times.

She acknowledged that die women important roles fulfilled in society, including doctors and teachers, but said they don’t represent everyone of the women of Afghanistan.

After the women archived out of the auditorium, they held a short march, singing in support of the Taliban and waving signs, including several in English met the text: “Women who left Afghanistan cannot represent us,” and “Our rights are protected in Islam.”

Taliban fighters cleared traffic to allow rented buses to women from the university grounds.

Even before the Taliban returned to power, Afghanistan posted in near the bottom of each list when it comes to protection for women, and at the top in terms of the need for shelters, counseling and courts die help to hold women safe.

Still, after 20 years of western support, girls and women made up about 40 percent of all students in the country. Women joined the military and the police, and kept political office. Some became internationally recognized singers, took part in the Olympics and on robotics teams, climbed mountains and more – all things die were almost impossible at the time of the century.

But a lot of die women, see no future for fled the country themselves. AN women’s football team from Herat made to be way to Italy, five members of the Afghan girls robotics team landed in Mexico, and Zarifa Ghafari, one of Afghanistan’s first female mayors arrived in Germany, where she recently met with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ms Ghafari expressed her outrage over the images of the women at University in Kabul on Saturday. “This is not our culture!” they wrote on Twitter. “Afghan” women are not part of extremism, don’t piss them off, don’t impose ISIS culture on us!”

When the Taliban announced their caretaker government on Tuesday, leaders in the West noted that it failed until live up to promise that the group would be more including of The diverse ethnic groups and religious minorities in afghanistan. It was also made up whole of men, break with one more promise Taliban leaders.

Hours for acting government used to be announced, hundreds of afghans, women Amongst them, took take to the streets to peacefully demand that their rights are respected under their new leaders. Taliban fighters used rifle butts and sticks to break violently up the protest, the sending participants fleeing.

On Wednesday, two Afghan journalists were detained and met violently attacked for cover a protest in Kabul. Photos showed the back of both reporters covered with bruises and cuts from being beaten repeatedly with cables, sparks and international indignation.

Reporting contributed by Sami Sahak and Wali Ariani

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