The Grim Anniversary

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Afghan women took to the streets of Kabul over the weekend to protest the Taliban regime, a rare show of defiance that came two days before the first anniversary of the group taking control of Afghanistan, NPR reported.

Dozens of women chanted for “bread, work, freedom,” “we want political participation” and “no to enslavement.” One protester said the demonstration is important “because it’s nearly the first anniversary of the Taliban rule and we wanted to say that we don’t consent to this government.”

But soon after the demonstrations began, Taliban authorities cracked down on local journalists and international correspondents covering the demonstration. They also fired live rounds in the air above protesters to disperse them.

There were no reports of injuries.

Last August, the Taliban returned to power following the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. Soon after their takeover, they swiftly curbed women’s rights, preventing most girls from attending secondary school, and barring women from traveling alone and working.

The Islamist group also cracked down on their critics, despite pledges of amnesty.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s economy has been immobilized by sanctions, which have driven the country into a grave humanitarian catastrophe leading to many Afghans going hungry. Major aid and human rights organizations have urged the international community to remember the plight of ordinary Afghans, and have pled for aid and the resumption of business and trade.

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