A small group of women wearing veils gathered in western Afghanistan's Herat province on Thursday to demand that the Taliban's new regime protect their rights.
Over 50 women and young girls gathered in front of the governor's house in Herat city, holding placards with slogans concerning women's rights. Some of the placards read, "Don't be afraid, we're all in this together," and "Women's right is humanity's right."
Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on Aug. 15, forcing the majority of Ashraf Ghani's government officials to flee the country, the Afghan women's population has been concerned about restrictions on women's education and active involvement in social and economic life.
In his first news conference in Kabul on Aug. 17, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid assured Afghan women that their rights would be protected within the confines of Islamic law, and that they would be able to participate actively in society and pursue education at their free will in complete security.
Farzana Karami, one of the participants, claimed that women have been absent from public and private offices, universities, schools, and social venues in recent weeks.
Women have always desired the right to education, employment, freedom, and presence in public forums, social activities, and politics, she told reporters.
Women in Afghanistan are educated and capable of contributing to society. "It is unacceptable for us if these women are marginalized and ignored," she continued.
Their presence is not limited to schools, universities and health centers; rather, women make up half of Afghanistan's population and their participation in public spheres such as economic, cultural and social activities is essential, according to Karimi, who added that "nothing else is acceptable to us."
"We will never accept restrictions or limitations. We will not accept a system that ignores our rights and excludes us," she stressed.
The Taliban are in the process of forming an Afghan government, which they are expected to formally announce on Friday.
After the Taliban took control of Kabul last month, several of their leaders appeared on TV shows hosted by women anchors in what was seen to be an effort to debunk anti-women perceptions.