Meet the Afghan women defying the Taliban. ‘The more they try to scare us, the more fearless we become.’

2 mins read
  • Women across Afghanistan have held rare protests demanding the right to work, study, and be included in government.
  • Although the Taliban have promised to protect women’s rights, many fear women will be eradicated from public life.
  • Insider spoke to women’s rights activists on the ground about the fight for equality.

On Saturday in Kabul, Afghanistan, dozens of women took to the streets to demand their rights to work, be educated, and participate in society following the Taliban takeover.

The peaceful protest soon turned violent, as Taliban fighters surrounded the women, fired shots in the air and sprayed tear gas. One female protestor was pictured with blood running down her face

This was the latest in a series of female-led protests in Kabul and Herat over the last few days, as defiant women in Afghanistan came out in droves to demand their rights and freedoms be protected.

“Women are not letting the Taliban snatch away their rights and achievements anymore,” women’s rights activist Maryam* told Insider.

“They are willing to fight and resist even if it’s lethal to them.”

Maryam lives in Kabul and is the executive director of Her Afghanistan, an organization that works to support the advancement of young Afghan women.

“The more the Taliban try to scare us, the more fearless we become,” she said.

Since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan two weeks ago, many Afghan women have been living in uncertainty about the future.

Although the militant group has said women would be able to participate in society in accordance with sharia law, activists warn that their interpretation of Islamic law has historically been extreme.

During the Taliban’s previous rule in the 1990s, severe restrictions were placed on women’s lives, including banning them from all employment and prohibiting education for nearly all women.

“This is about the girls of Afghanistan and their futures,” Pashtana Durrani told Insider.

Durrani is the executive director of Learn Afghanistan, a non-profit organization that champions education and digital literacy, among other things.

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