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Anti-Pakistan protests break out in Afghanistan

Protesters remain peaceful, but regime clamps down using violent means; shots fired to disperse protesters

Sabrangindia 07 Sep 2021

Protest in AfghanistanImage Courtesy:business-standard.com

Thousands of Afghans took to the streets of Kabul to participate in anti-Pakistan protests on Tuesday September 7, 2021. Demonstrators included hundreds of women who defied the Taliban's traditional stand against women stepping out of their homes. 

The protesters demanded sanctions against Pakistan for the foreign power’s alleged support to the Taliban in the Panjshir valley, where anti-Taliban forces have been putting up a brave resistance. Protesters were heard chanting slogans such as “Pakistan, Pakistan – Leave Afganistan” and even “Death to Pakistan”.

The Taliban then reportedly opened fire to disperse protesters. BBC’s Yalda Hakim posted this video of the Kabul protests where gunshots can be heard in the background and people are seen running.

The Afghan people resent Pakistan’s meddling in their country’s affairs, especially given how Pakistan has been positioning itself as a mediator with the Taliban. The Afghan people do not want any mediation, but an outright ouster of the hardline regime, memories of whose brutal previous tenure are still fresh in their minds.

Moreover, no matter how much the Taliban use social media and public relations tactics to whitewash their image and present themselves as more palatable than their previous avatar, they are fooling no one. Women have been driven out of the workplace, female journalists forced out of newsrooms, some have even been forced into exile.

Take the case of Beheshta Arghand, a 24-year-old TOLO News anchor who became the first woman to interview a Taliban spokesperson on air, and has now reportedly been forced to flee her homeland. CNN reported that she and her family were evacuated to Doha recently. She reportedly felt that the dangers were too much.   

Then there was Sahar Safdare, another woman journalist working with TOLO TV, who was forced to flee her homeland. She called leaving Afghanistan “the worst trip of my life” and that it was “full of pain and humiliation”.

 

 

Ever since the Taliban tanks rolled into Kabul, citizens of Afghanistan have remained resolute in their defiance of the totalitarian regime. There have been several instances of peaceful protests in a country where just the act of coming out on the street and demanding one’s rights is basically the equivalent of placing oneself firmly within one’s enemy’s crosshairs, daring them to shoot.

There had been sporadic protests ever since August 17, and many rallies saw people take to the streets waving the original Afghanistan flag instead of the one imposed by the Taliban. And while the Taliban has clamped down on the resistance, snatching away Afghan flags, kidnapping protesters and causing their “enforced disappearance”, and even tear-gassing rallies where unarmed women were demanding their right to work, people of Afghanistan have persisted.

On September 3 and 4, the Taliban broke up protests by women in Kabul and Herat. The women in Kabul were marching towards the Presidential palace when the Taliban reportedly first stopped the women and asked them to turn away. Later, as a protester identified as one Soraya, told Reuters, Taliban officials hit women on the head with the magazines of guns. A video of activist Narjis Sadat bleeding from her head after the protest was also shared widely on social media:

The Taliban tried to appear to soften their stand on women’s employment by saying that women could be involved in government but not hold ministerial positions. This self-contradicting stand once again exposed that the so-called “Taliban 2.0” was just old poison in a new vial.

But now it isn’t just women… For the Afghans, the situation has grown even more grave with Pakistan’s alleged support to the Taliban fighting the National Resistance Front (NRF) led by Ahmed Massoud in the Panjshir region. This explains the mass on-ground mobilisation where it is no longer only women, but even men are holding demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Iran has become the first country to demand a probe into Pakistani interference in the Panjshir clashes. Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Kahtibzadeh said that “the foreign interference must be investigated”. India, meanwhile, is yet to make an official statement on the subject.

Related:

Rights groups express solidarity with Afghanistan in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru
Mumbai with Afghanistan
Amnesty for Afghans: Can the world walk the talk?

Anti-Pakistan protests break out in Afghanistan

Protesters remain peaceful, but regime clamps down using violent means; shots fired to disperse protesters

Protest in AfghanistanImage Courtesy:business-standard.com

Thousands of Afghans took to the streets of Kabul to participate in anti-Pakistan protests on Tuesday September 7, 2021. Demonstrators included hundreds of women who defied the Taliban's traditional stand against women stepping out of their homes. 

The protesters demanded sanctions against Pakistan for the foreign power’s alleged support to the Taliban in the Panjshir valley, where anti-Taliban forces have been putting up a brave resistance. Protesters were heard chanting slogans such as “Pakistan, Pakistan – Leave Afganistan” and even “Death to Pakistan”.

The Taliban then reportedly opened fire to disperse protesters. BBC’s Yalda Hakim posted this video of the Kabul protests where gunshots can be heard in the background and people are seen running.

The Afghan people resent Pakistan’s meddling in their country’s affairs, especially given how Pakistan has been positioning itself as a mediator with the Taliban. The Afghan people do not want any mediation, but an outright ouster of the hardline regime, memories of whose brutal previous tenure are still fresh in their minds.

Moreover, no matter how much the Taliban use social media and public relations tactics to whitewash their image and present themselves as more palatable than their previous avatar, they are fooling no one. Women have been driven out of the workplace, female journalists forced out of newsrooms, some have even been forced into exile.

Take the case of Beheshta Arghand, a 24-year-old TOLO News anchor who became the first woman to interview a Taliban spokesperson on air, and has now reportedly been forced to flee her homeland. CNN reported that she and her family were evacuated to Doha recently. She reportedly felt that the dangers were too much.   

Then there was Sahar Safdare, another woman journalist working with TOLO TV, who was forced to flee her homeland. She called leaving Afghanistan “the worst trip of my life” and that it was “full of pain and humiliation”.

 

 

Ever since the Taliban tanks rolled into Kabul, citizens of Afghanistan have remained resolute in their defiance of the totalitarian regime. There have been several instances of peaceful protests in a country where just the act of coming out on the street and demanding one’s rights is basically the equivalent of placing oneself firmly within one’s enemy’s crosshairs, daring them to shoot.

There had been sporadic protests ever since August 17, and many rallies saw people take to the streets waving the original Afghanistan flag instead of the one imposed by the Taliban. And while the Taliban has clamped down on the resistance, snatching away Afghan flags, kidnapping protesters and causing their “enforced disappearance”, and even tear-gassing rallies where unarmed women were demanding their right to work, people of Afghanistan have persisted.

On September 3 and 4, the Taliban broke up protests by women in Kabul and Herat. The women in Kabul were marching towards the Presidential palace when the Taliban reportedly first stopped the women and asked them to turn away. Later, as a protester identified as one Soraya, told Reuters, Taliban officials hit women on the head with the magazines of guns. A video of activist Narjis Sadat bleeding from her head after the protest was also shared widely on social media:

The Taliban tried to appear to soften their stand on women’s employment by saying that women could be involved in government but not hold ministerial positions. This self-contradicting stand once again exposed that the so-called “Taliban 2.0” was just old poison in a new vial.

But now it isn’t just women… For the Afghans, the situation has grown even more grave with Pakistan’s alleged support to the Taliban fighting the National Resistance Front (NRF) led by Ahmed Massoud in the Panjshir region. This explains the mass on-ground mobilisation where it is no longer only women, but even men are holding demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Iran has become the first country to demand a probe into Pakistani interference in the Panjshir clashes. Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Kahtibzadeh said that “the foreign interference must be investigated”. India, meanwhile, is yet to make an official statement on the subject.

Related:

Rights groups express solidarity with Afghanistan in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru
Mumbai with Afghanistan
Amnesty for Afghans: Can the world walk the talk?

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