It’s been almost a month since the Taliban regained control over Afghanistan and the future of women’s rights are still in doubt.
Afghan women have not been shy to protest for their rights since the takeover but so far it’s been clear they’ve been protesting against the Taliban.
However, this weekend saw a rare rally of supposedly pro-Taliban women showing up in support of their new leadership.
Several hundreds of women wearing full-body coverings took part in the demonstrations in Kabul on September 11.
They were seen sitting in a university lecture hall holding up the Taliban flag.
Reports suggest the organisers were female students and teachers themselves.
The acting Afghan education minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, said that even though women will be able to attend university they will need to be separated from men and follow a mandatory dress code. He also issued a callout for female teachers.
Speaking at a news conference he said, “Thanks to God we have a high number of women teachers. We will not face any problems in this. All efforts will be made to find and provide women teachers for female students.”
Were the protests real?
The Taliban has a history or repressing women’s rights from when they were last in power between 1996-2001. This included banning women and girls from going to school, university, and working.
Many people are sceptical over the images of the protests over the weekend.
A few reasons include the presence of Taliban fighters alongside the protestors, a speedy response by the Taliban for official statements, and difficulty in reaching the women who attended the protests and the university to speak to them about what happened.
The timing of the protests also came into question as they were held on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Previous protests have seen a much harsher crackdown on women where protestors have been met with violence and recently two Afghan journalists were badly beaten for covering the women’s protests.
When students returned to university earlier this month, mixed-gender classes saw students separated by curtains.
Any promises from the all-male Taliban government over the future of women’s eduction will need to be watched with caution.