Taliban forces on Sunday fired pepper spray at a group of female protesters in Kabul demanding rights to work and education, three demonstrators said.
Since seizing control of the country by force in August, the Taliban authorities have imposed creeping restrictions on Afghans, especially on women.
About 20 women gathered in front of Kabul University, chanting “equality and justice” and carried banners that read “Women’s rights, human rights,” an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent reported.
However, the protest was later dispersed by Taliban fighters who arrived at the scene in several vehicles, three female protesters said.
“When we were near Kabul University, three Taliban vehicles came, and fighters from one of the vehicles used pepper spray on us,” said a protester, who asked not to be named for security reasons.
“My right eye started to burn. I told one of them ‘shame on you,’ and then he pointed his gun at me,” she said.
Two other protesters said that one of the women had to be taken to hospital after the spray caused an allergic reaction to her eyes and face.
An AFP correspondent saw a fighter confiscate a mobile phone of a man who was filming the demonstration.
The Taliban authorities have banned unsanctioned protests and frequently intervened to forcefully break up rallies demanding rights for women.
They have blocked female public sector employees from returning to work, many secondary schools have still not reopened for girls and public universities are shut.
Long-distance trips for women who are not accompanied by a close male relative have been banned.
The authorities have also issued guidelines that prevent television channels from broadcasting serials featuring female actors.
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