Afghan women march for rights, better living conditions

Kabul, Oct 21 (EFE).- A group of women marched in Kabul Thursday for human rights and better living conditions under the Taliban rule before the Islamist policemen allegedly used force to disperse them.

The protesters gathered in the Kabul city center for a march to the Presidential Palace “and raise the voice of a poor nation engulfed in economic crisis and poverty,” rights defender Deeba Farahmand, one of the organizers, told EFE.

Farahmand said they took to the streets since the Taliban were not paying attention to the deteriorating Afghan situation.

“Children and women are the worst affected by the ongoing economic problems,” she said.

The Taliban police prevented women from gathering and limited their number before chasing them away.

“They beat the protesters and journalists who were covering us… We will continue such protests in future,” the activist said.

The protesters demanded food, jobs, and education for girls.

“We are the voice of our hungry children and men. We are the voice of the hungry nation.”

Farahmand said they had little hope from the Taliban because the Islamists were not listening.

She urged the international community to help the Afghans in distress.

“We urge regional countries and the international community to not recognize the Taliban government until they guarantee the rights of Afghans, particularly women.”

The Islamist militia, which returned to power in Kabul on Aug.15, has banned women from work and girls from secondary schools.

In the last three months of their rule, the Taliban have suppressed several women protests in Kabul and other Afghan provinces.

Afghanistan is facing a potential humanitarian crisis,

Some 18 million people or half of the population need humanitarian assistance, United Nations has said.

UN Development Program fears that 97 percent of the Afghans could plunge into poverty by mid-next year.

In September, the UNDP called for an urgent response to the political and economic crises in the country.

The agency indicated that real Afghan GDP could contract by 13.2 percent, leading to an increase in the poverty rate of up to 25 percentage points.

The UN body Thursday launched a new crisis response initiative to prevent “a humanitarian catastrophe and the breakdown of the country’s economy.”

The initiative seeks to support the most vulnerable populations and the collapsing micro-businesses in Afghanistan.

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