KABUL, Afghanistan — After being shut out from the Taliban’s new government, women increased pressure on Afghanistan’s new rulers with a number of protests Wednesday, at least one of which was broken up by Taliban fighters who whipped some of the demonstrators and arrested local journalists.
The protests came one day after the Taliban announced an interim Cabinet composed exclusively of the group’s stalwarts, with no women or former political figures and few minorities. Although the rallies were small, with only a few dozen women in each case, they put the new government to the test after it declared that participating in — and covering — protests is illegal without government permission.
The rallies illustrated the reality that, though the Taliban may now stand virtually unchallenged on the battlefield, the group faces a more complicated task in getting fearful Afghans — especially women and those living in cities — to buckle under its rule. It is evident that the militant group is growing less tolerant and more violent in confronting criticism amid calls for wider civil rights.