• 'Not afraid, we are united,' Afghan women protest for their rights amid Taliban takeover

    'Not afraid, we are united,' Afghan women protest for their rights amid Taliban takeover

    Kabul: More than 50 Afghan women took to the streets of Afghanistan's western city Herat to protest for their rights to work, female participation in the new government to be formed by the Taliban. The Taliban said they were close to forming a new government as early as Friday, days after the US troops left Afghanistan.

    Basira Taheri, one of the organizers of the protest, told AFP she wanted the Taliban to include women in the new cabinet. "We want the Taliban to hold consultations with us. We don't see any women in their gatherings and meetings,” Basira said.

    “It is our right to have education, work, and security. We are not afraid, we are united," the demonstrators said, according to an AFP journalist who witnessed the protest in the relatively cosmopolitan city, where girls have already returned to school.

    AFP reported that the announcement of a cabinet may take place on Friday following afternoon prayers. All eyes are on whether the Taliban can be a softer brand of rule, than their brutal reign of 1996-2001, can keep their promise about women's participation, and manage a war-torn economy.

    Senior Taliban leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, a hardliner in the first Taliban administration, said BBC Pashto in an interview that while women could continue working but there "may not" be a place for them in the cabinet of any future government or any other top post.

    Beheshta Arghand, the first female Afghan journalist to interview a Taliban official live on television, told AFP in Qatar that women in Afghanistan were "in a very bad situation. I want to say to the international community please do anything (you can) for Afghan women," Arghand.

    During their first regime, the Taliban carried out brutal interpretations of Islamic law, and women were banned from work and education and even were denied freedom of movement. Any digression was handled with public floggings and even executions.