Taliban officials broke up a demonstration of dozens of women in Kabul to demand rights after the Taliban captured Afghanistan.

Taliban and women's rights

The group says the Taliban targeted them with tear gas and pepper spray as they tried to walk from a bridge to the presidential palace.

But the Taliban maintain that the protest has spiraled out of control, Afghan media outlet Tolo News reported.

This is the latest of several protests by women in Kabul and Herat.

Women were demanding the right to work and their inclusion in government. The Taliban say they will announce the formation of their administration in the coming days.

The Taliban said that women could participate in government, but not hold ministerial positions.

Many women fear returning to the way they were treated when the Taliban were in power before, between 1996 and 2001. Women were forced to cover their faces abroad and severe penalties were imposed for minor abuses.

Twenty-five years ago, when the Taliban came, they prevented me from going to school," journalist Azita Nazimi told Tolo.

"After five years of their rule, I studied for 25 years and worked hard. For our better future, we will not allow this to happen."

"They hit women on the head with a weapons magazine, and the women became bloody," another protester, Soraya, told Reuters.

"At the same time, clashes continued in the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, where resistance fighters are thwarting Taliban efforts to take control.

But there was a claim and a counterclaim. The Taliban maintain that they have taken control of two other areas and are heading to the center of the province.

A spokesman for the Afghan National Resistance Front (FNF) said heavy fighting was continuing and thousands of Taliban had been besieged.

The Panjshir Valley, home to between 150,000 and 200,000 people, was a center of resistance when Afghanistan was under Soviet occupation in the 1980s and during the previous Taliban rule.

National Front leader Ahmed Massoud praised the women's protests in Herat and said Panjshir was still resisting.

None of the National Front's allegations could be verified by the Taliban.

In another sign of the resumption of Kabul airport following the US withdrawal last week, Afghan airline Ariana announced the resumption of domestic flights to three cities, Harriet, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Kandahar.

Al-Jazeera quoted the Qatari ambassador as saying that a technical team from Qatar had succeeded in reopening the airport to receive relief flights.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will travel to Qatar on Sunday. The country plays a key role in mediation in Afghanistan, but no Taliban are expected to meet.

The head of Pakistan's spy agency, General Fayez Hamid, arrived in Kabul but gave nothing when questioned by reporters.

An official told Reuters earlier this week that it could help the Taliban reorganize the Afghan army.

Western powers accuse the Islamic State of supporting the Taliban, which Pakistan has denied.

News Wrap: Afghan women protest Taliban rule in Kabul, demand equal rights


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