Afghanistan: Women ‘beaten by Taliban’ as they hold protest in Herat

A number of women, including female students from universities, held a protest in the city of Herat on Saturday morning, but were met with “violence” by the Taliban who reportedly whipped them and beat them up with guns.

The women were protesting against the Taliban’s recent decision to close universities and other higher education facilities to women across the country.

“We had no guns, we were not armed, but there were many armed people surrounding us,” one protester said on condition of anonymity.

She said “many women were beaten harshly, some by whipping and others with guns,” to disperse protestors.

The protest was held on Saturday morning in the central part of Herat city but it was stopped after a few minutes.

Another protesting woman who wished not to be named said women were chased even down alleys in the city.

“They were using water cannons. It was such a waste of water. The weather was cold but despite that they were using water cannons.” She also said many of the women complained of having problems with their eyes during the incident.

It is believed that the Taliban might also have used tear gas to disperse the protestors.

Another protestor said she was in hiding after having been chased “by Taliban”, after the protest.

This latest protest comes four days after the Taliban announced that women would no longer be allowed access to higher education. This triggered a global outcry.

A day after the announcement, the first of a number of protests were held in Kabul, which was followed by another in Takhar province in northeastern Afghanistan.

At least five women were arrested by the Taliban in the Kabul protest, two of whom, including activist Ruqiya Saee, are still in custody.