Clashes broke out on Saturday as the Taliban broke up a women's rights protest in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The activists on Saturday had staged a protest close to the Afghan presidential palace and held banners reading "We are not women of the 90s," referring to the strict curbs on women's movement under the Taliban's previous rule.
According to TOLO news, Taliban fighters used tear gas and batons to prevent them from reaching the palace.
Footage shared on social media showed over a dozen Afghan women being confronted by armed Taliban security forces.
Women could be seen coughing, indicating tear gas had been fired.
Video: A number of women rights activists and reporters protested for a second day in Kabul on Saturday, and said the protest turned violent as Taliban forces did not allow the protesters to march toward the Presidential Palace. #TOLOnews pic.twitter.com/X2HJpeALvA
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) September 4, 2021
A video of Afghan activist Narjis Sadat bleeding from her head was shared widely on social media, claiming she had been beaten by militant fighters at the protest.
— Zaki Daryabi (@ZDaryabi) September 4, 2021
A 24-year-old participant told the New York Times that the Taliban tried to rout the gathering of about 100 women using tear gas, rifle butts and metal clubs or tools.
“When I tried to resist and continued the march, one of the armed Taliban pushed me and hit me with a sharp metal device,” said the woman.
Journalist Azita Nazimi told TOLO news, "Twenty-five years ago, when the Taliban came, they prevented me from going to school. After five years of their rule, I studied for 25 years and worked hard. For the sake of our better future, we will not allow this to happen."
Another demonstrator, Soraya, told Reuters: "They also hit women on the head with a gun magazine, and the women became bloody."
Taliban leaders on Twitter dismissed the videos being shared online of violence at the women-led protests.
The head of the Cultural Commission, Muhammad Jalal, said that these demonstrations were "a deliberate attempt to cause problems," adding that "these people don't even represent 0.1 percent of Afghanistan."
Afghan women have held protests for the past two days in Taliban-controlled Kabul, advocating for women's rights and demanding equality, justice and democracy.
The women were calling for the right to work and to be included in the government. The Taliban have said women can be involved in government, but not hold ministerial positions.
Since they swept to power last month the Taliban leaders have been on a “charm offensive” seeking to convince the world, aid groups and their own population that the harsh rule they imposed in their last stint in power, from 1996 to 2001, was a thing of the past.
However, the little restraint shown is evidence of what is to come for women under their regime.
Inputs from agencies