Striking photos show black-clad veiled Afghan women attending a pro-Taliban rally in Kabul

Veiled students hold Taliban flags as they listen women speakers before a pro-Taliban rally at the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021. (
Veiled students hold Taliban flags as they listen women speakers before a pro-Taliban rally at the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021.
  • Images show veiled Afghan women attending pro-Taliban events in Kabul on Saturday.
  • The women were covered head-to-toe, in accordance with Taliban policy, with some wearing black gloves.
  • The images have sparked a debate about personal choice and freedom.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Afghan women wearing face veils and covered head-to-toe attended events supporting the Taliban in Kabul on Saturday.

The women attended an event at a university, in which women speakers spoke in favor of the country's new leaders, before taking to the streets for a pro-Taliban rally with banners proclaiming, in English, "We don't want co-education" and "we are satisfied with the attitude and behavior of Mujahideens."

The images are in stark contrast to other women-led protests that have taken place around the country in defiance of the Taliban.

The images of the pro-Taliban women have sparked a debate about personal choice and freedom.

Veiled women attended an event in support of the Taliban's strict gender segregation policies.
Women attend a program to support Taliban at Kabul Education University on September 11, 2021.
Veiled women attending an event to support the Taliban at Kabul Education University on September 11, 2021.

Around 300 Afghan women attended the event at the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on Sunday in support of the Taliban's hardline policies on gender segregation, according to AFP.

During the Taliban's previous rule in the 1990s, severe restrictions were placed on women's lives, including banning them from employment and education. 

The Taliban have claimed that they will be less extreme this time and have allowed women to attend university as long as the classrooms are segregated by sex or divided by a curtain.

 

Most women wore full face veils and held Taliban flags.
Women attend a program to support Taliban at Kabul Education University on September 11, 2021.
Women attend a program to support the Taliban at Kabul Education University on September 11, 2021.

Striking images show most of the women in the audience covered head-to-toe, in accordance with Taliban dress policy, and holding Taliban flags.

Many also wore black gloves.

Several women spoke at the event in support of the Taliban, reports say.

"We are against those women who are protesting on the streets, claiming they are representative of women," said the first speaker, according to AFP.

"Is it freedom to like the last government? No, it is not freedom. The last government were misusing women. They were recruiting women just by their beauty," she said.

Another woman said she believed all Afghan women should wear a headscarf.

"Those not wearing the hijab are harming all of us," she said, according to AFP.

Veiled women attended a pro-Taliban rally while flanked by armed Taliban fighters.
Armed Taliban fighters escort veiled women as they march during a pro-Taliban rally outside Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021.
Armed Taliban fighters escort veiled women as they march during a pro-Taliban rally outside Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021.

The women then marched through the streets outside the university, carrying placards in support of the Taliban.

The women were escorted by armed fighters and walked in organized lines for a short distance, AFP reported.

The new Taliban-led government has banned demonstrations unless permission is granted by the justice ministry.

Daud Haqqani, director of foreign relations at the education ministry, said women had organized the protest themselves and been granted permission to demonstrate, AFP said.

Comparatively, the protests held by women demanding equal rights from the Taliban often turned violent, with Taliban fighters firing into the air and tear-gassing some protesters.

Afghan women held placards in support of the Taliban.
Armed Taliban fighters escort veiled women as they march during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021.
Veiled women march during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021.

Some women held signs up in support of the insurgents, including, "We are satisfied with attitude and behavior of Mujahideens," while armed Taliban fighters looked on.

 

 

Women at the rally held signs in support of the Taliban's gender segregation policies.
Veiled women hold banners and placards while marching during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021.
Veiled women held banners and placards while marching during a pro-Taliban rally outside Kabul's Shaheed Rabbani Education University on September 11, 2021.

Some women held signs that said, "We don't want co-education."

The Taliban have implemented strict policies about gender segregation at schools and universities.

Activists have warned that a lack of female teachers means that many women might be deprived of education.

Until the Taliban took over, an increasing number of women attended universities in Afghanistan, studied alongside male students, and often had male teachers.

Some women held signs criticizing Afghan women who left the country.
Veiled women hold banners and placards while marching during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021.
Veiled women held banners and placards while marching during a pro-Taliban rally outside Kabul's Shaheed Rabbani Education University on September 11, 2021.

Along with pro-Taliban placards, some women held signs that read, "Women who left Afghanistan cannot represent us."

Thousands of Afghans, including women, fled the country following the Taliban takeover.

Many women activists who have criticized the group's hardline policies are in hiding in the country as they fear retribution attacks.

Most women at the rally were covered head-to-toe.
Veiled women hold banners and placards while marching during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021. (
Veiled women held banners and placards while marching during a pro-Taliban rally outside Kabul's Shaheed Rabbani Education University on September 11, 2021.

Images of the veiled pro-Taliban women have sparked a debate on social media about personal freedom and choice.

Some said the images were evidence of the renewed oppression of women under Taliban rule.

Others argued that these women should have the right to choose what they wear, even if others do not agree with or understand their choices.

 

Heavily armed Taliban fighters escorted the women protesters.
An armed Taliban fighter escorts veiled women as they march during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021.
An armed Taliban fighter escorts veiled women as they marched during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11, 2021.

One Afghan journalist on Twitter said that the event was proof of the diversity of Afghan women and that events like this had occurred in Afghanistan in the past.

 

Others argued that it was impossible for any woman to truly be pro-Taliban.

"These are women who are either forced to embrace the extremist regime out of fear or are not aware of their rights," one woman wrote on Twitter.

"Give them exposure and education and then we will see if they still support the Taliban."

 

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