Afghanistan: media workers covering women's protest harassed by the TalibanEvent
- Initial Date
- Oct 21, 2021
- Event Description
On October 21, Taliban militants attacked several journalists covering a protest rally organized by a group of women demanding “work, bread, and education" in Kabul. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Afghanistan affiliate, the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA) express serious concern on the attacks and urges the Taliban to respect the media, freedom of expression and women’s rights.
Taliban militants beat several print and electronic media journalists to prevent them from covering the women’s protest held in the morning of October 21 in Kabul. In a video received by the IFJ, Taliban members are seen punching and kicking journalists. A foreign journalist who was reporting from the protest venue was hit with the butt of a rifle. The journalist was kicked in the back and punched. According to the AIJA, AFP photojournalist Bülent Kiliç and Afghan News Agency reporter Shafiullah Kakar were among those attacked.
The protest rally, attended by around 20 women, was organisedin response to a rapid deterioration in women’s rights in Afghanistan including the right to education and the right to work following the Taliban takeover of the country in mid-August. Since then, the Taliban went on to close down Afghanistan’s women’s affairs ministry on September 16, replacing it with a controversial ‘virtue and vice ministry’.
Journalists covering an earlier protest on September 7 and 8 were also attacked when militants arrested more than 14 media workers while covering anti-Pakistan and women’s protests in Kabul.
Taliban militants have attacked several journalists covering a Kabul rally by a group of women demanding "work, bread, and education," spurring concerns about the deterioration of the rights situation under Afghanistan’s new rulers.
After it toppled the internationally recognized government in Kabul in mid-August, the Taliban claimed it would show more moderation than during its brutal rule from 1996 to 2001, when girls were not allowed to attend school and women were banned from work, education, and sports. However, the United Nations and rights groups have slammed the Taliban's "broken" promises to allow women to work and girls to have access to all levels of education, and blamed Afghanistan’s new rulers for imposing “wide-ranging restrictions” on media and free speech.
With girls in only five of Afghanistan's 34 provinces allowed to attend secondary schools, and the vast majority of women ordered not to return to work, a group of about 20 women marched in the streets of Kabul on October 21 to defend their rights.
The demonstrators chanted slogans such as "Don't politicize education" before the Taliban intervened. At
one point a Taliban fighter struck a foreign photographer with the butt of his rifle and kicked him as another militant punched the journalist, according to AFP.
At least two other journalists were hit as they scattered, pursued by Taliban fighters swinging fists and launching kicks, the news agency reported.
"The situation is that the Taliban don't respect anything: not journalists -- foreign and local -- or women," said Zahra Mohammadi, one of the protest organizers.
Taliban officials did not immediately comment. Afghans have staged scattered street protests since the Taliban takeover, many with women at the forefront, despite a ban on unauthorized demonstrations.
The previous day, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, tweeted: “The education of ALL girls in Afghanistan must resume now.”
“Millions of children have already lost out on learning because of conflict and COVID-19. As schools reopen, girls cannot, and must not, be left behind.”
The Taliban has announced 11 new “journalism rules” that rights groups say could be used to persecute journalists, and detained and beaten a number of them over the past weeks.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Other (e.g. undefined, organisation, community)
- Violence (physical)
- Rights Concerned
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Media Worker
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 21 October 2021, several media workers were beaten while covering an ongoing women-led protest calling for basic human and women's rights by the Taliban in Kabul, Afghanistan.