The Taliban violently ended a march by nearly 200 female students at Herat University who were demanding an end to mass killings of Hazaras and attacks on educational centres. The women started their peaceful protest at around 9 a.m. on Sunday, shouting slogans including “Security and education are our rights,” “Stop Genocide,” and “Silence is treason.”
A Zan Times reporter from Herat says that the demonstration was immediately met with violence by the Taliban, who beat demonstrators, fired in the air and forcefully dispersed them.
The Herat demonstration is in reaction to Friday’s deadly attack on the Kaaj educational centre in western Kabul, in which at least 35 were killed and more than 80 students wounded. And it may be a sign that anger at the lack of security may be spreading within Afghanistan. On Sunday, more protests were reported in Bamyan province, where demonstrators chanted, “Stop Hazara genocide.”
On Saturday, hundreds took to the streets of Kabul and a university campus to protest the increasing number of attacks, especially the Kaaj suicide bombing. And like the march in Herat, those in Kabul were suppressed by the Taliban.
On Saturday, the Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed concern over the suppression of peaceful women’s protests by the Taliban and demanded an end to violence against the protesters. In its tweet, UNAMA asked the Taliban “to safeguard rights of all Afghans and stop using weapons to prevent the right of peaceful protest.”