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EU Slams Taliban Over Failure To Create 'Inclusive Political System' On Eve Of Takeover Anniversary

Taliban security stand guard on the street in Kabul on August 11.

The Taliban has "failed to establish an inclusive political system," the European Union has charged on the eve of the first anniversary of the hard-line Islamist movement's rule.

"The population, including ethnic and religious groups and in particular Hazaras and the Shi'a population, are experiencing institutionalized and systemic abuse of their economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights," said Nabila Massrali, an EU foreign affairs spokeswoman, in a statement on August 14.

"More concretely, they have severely violated and abused the rights of Afghan women and girls, who remain deprived of secondary education, while new restrictions on dress codes and movement have further excluded them from most aspects of economic and public life," Massrali said. "Mechanisms to protect women and girls from violence and forced marriages have been dismantled, and domestic violence is on the rise."

The Taliban captured Kabul on August 15, 2021, bringing the militants back into power in Afghanistan nearly 20 years after they were toppled by the U.S. invasion following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

No country has yet recognized Taliban rule. After initially signaling they would be more moderate than in their previous time in power, the Taliban turned to a hard line, crushing women's rights, allowing little criticism, and imposing greater control over the press.

The EU rebuke comes a day after a demonstration by women in Kabul was violently dispersed by Taliban fighters who fired guns in the air and beat protesters who had demanded "bread, work, and freedom."

About 40 women marched in front of the Education Ministry building on August 13 before the fighters dispersed them.

Photos and videos of the protest posted on social media show Taliban forces firing warning shots and physically assaulting the women. Some women were chased by Taliban fighters, who beat them with their rifle butts.

The Taliban also detained three foreign journalists and one Afghan worker for covering the protest, while another two local journalists were slightly wounded, according to the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA).

Hujatullah Mujadidi, a senior member of the Kabul-based AIJA, told dpa that the foreign journalists detained were from Germany, Denmark, and Norway.

Amnesty International expressed concern about reports that the Taliban used "excessive force" to disperse the women. It said on Twitter that the women had been "peacefully protesting to demand their human rights."

A video said to be taken of the march showed the women carrying banners and posters and marching in the street demanding the right to work and political participation.

"Justice, justice. We're fed up with ignorance," they chanted. Many of the protesters did not wear the required face veils.

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