Statement #1 – November 26, 2022

Dear friends and comrades,

A month ago, on the occasion of the International Conference of Working Women, which brought together women and political and trade union activists from 18 countries (Algeria, Belgium, Benin, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the United States), and responding positively to the call of the Spontaneous Afghan Women’s Movement, we set up the International Committee in Defence of Afghan Women. 

The aim of this international committee, as requested by our sisters in Afghanistan, is to support these women and girls who, at the risk of their lives, are demonstrating for the reopening of schools closed to them by the Taliban regime, for the right to work, and for the respect of their most basic rights. It is about fighting against the ferocious repression of which they are victims: assassinations, torture, arrests and disappearances – all this in the complicit silence of the governments of the major powers. They demand “Bread, work, and freedom”. Hundreds of you have already joined our committee around the world, from South Africa to Great Britain, from Turkey to France: women workers, teachers, lawyers, trade unionists, writers, artists, activists, etc. 

In this first communiqué, we publish two exceptional documents that have arrived from Kabul: two communiqués from the Spontaneous Afghan Women’s Movement of 11 and 18 November, and photos of the meetings they have held in Kabul in recent days. 

Join us, make the cause of Afghan women known, it is the cause of women and workers all over the world. 

Rubina JAMIL
General Secretary of the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (Pakistan) 

Christel KEISER
National Secretary of the Independent and Democratic Workers’ Party (France)

 Statement of the Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women 

 (November 18, 2022- Kabul, Afghanistan) 

« The women and girls of Afghanistan want bread, work, freedom, school, and education! » 

Report on Afghan women’s protest meeting condemning arbitrary arrests and kidnapping of female activists. 

On November 18, hundreds of women in the provinces of Kabul, Herat, Laghman, and Balkh planned to protest against the arrest and kidnapping of women by the police and intelligence of the Taliban, but the Taliban did not allow them. They were forced to express their objections through the meetings inside a house and convey their voice of oppression to the people of Afghanistan and the world. 

Here, we share with you a summary of Ms. Z.Ozra’s speech, the representative of the Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women at a meeting held in Kabul: 

“Dear friends and sisters, 

The sisters gathered here wanted to launch a demonstration today in District 12 of Kabul, where other sisters, mainly teachers, feminists, women’s rights activists and mothers of students, were also expected to participate. Unfortunately, the Taliban once again treated women brutally. They suppressed our demonstration and did not allow it. In the same way, some sisters who demonstrated in the cities of Jalalabad, Herat, Mehtarlam Baba and Balkh were beaten and threatened with weapons, and some were imprisoned. 

But I would like to emphasize and tell the Taliban that they cannot silence our voices. The women and girls of Afghanistan want bread, work, freedom, school, and education. We do not want to be treated as animals, we cannot tolerate gender-based violence and sexual apartheid against women. We are determined to continue our protests and struggle in any form. We are not afraid of Taliban threats, prison and death. 

We expect human rights organizations, women’s rights defender, and feminist activists to support the oppressed women of Afghanistan against the misgynistic Taliban regime and not leave us alone in this tough struggle. 

• Free all the imprisoned women!
• All girls’ schools must be opened immediately! 
• End the violence against women!”


End the suppression and detention of protesting women! 

Free Zarifa Yaqoubi, Farhat Popalzai and all arrested activists!

Following the series of threats, arrests, torture and killing of protesting women in Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan, on November 8, 2022 Ms. Farhat Popalzai, one of the active members of the Afghan women’s protesting movement, was arrested by the Taliban intelligence in Kabul, and so far there is no news about her fate. 

According to the report of BBC Dari, quoted by Maryam Naibi a colleague of Farhat Popalzai, her phone has been switched off since 2 o’clock on Tuesday, and the contact with Ms. Farhat has been cut off. The Taliban security forces and the Kabul police, as always, deny the arrest of Mrs. Popalzai, but the fact is that the intelligence services of the Taliban, hide arbitrary arrests and prevent national and international protests against their brutal treatment against women; they cannot tolerate the political, civil and peaceful struggles of Afghan women. 

Meanwhile, human rights organizations report the arrests of Ms. Ozra, Ms. Parwana, Ms. Farzia, Ms. Safia, Ms. Roheena, Ms. Asia, Ms. Zarmineh, Ms. Mahtab, Ms. Laila, Ms. Bibi Shaima, Ms. Parvin, Ms. Brishna, Ms. Tarana, Ms. Bibi Lima, Ms. Marzia, and Ms. Shagofa in the provinces of Kabul, Herat, Laghman, and Takhar. According to their families, the mentioned activists, feminists and teachers were arrested by the Taliban and taken to unknown places in October and November on charges of participating in women’s demonstrations and street protests. 

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson of the Taliban, considers the struggle and resistance of the protesting women to be the plan of foreign countries in order to discredit the Taliban government and warns that they will not allow any movement that contradicts the Islamic laws. 

It should be remembered that on November 3rd Ms. Zarifa Yaqoubi and four of her colleagues were arrested during the press conference in west of Kabul city, their families still do not know about their condition. The United Nations delegation in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and human rights organizations and women’s rights defenders inside and outside Afghanistan demanded the immediate release of Ms. Yaqoubi and all imprisoned women. 

In addition to the official prisons, the Taliban have many private prisons where they torture and keep opponents and women protesters without contact with their families, human rights organizations, or access to a defense lawyer. 

The Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women by condemning the arrest of protesting women and inhumane treatment with them, calls on all women’s rights organizations and individuals to put pressure on the misogynist Taliban regime to stop the arrests and torture of protesting women and for the immediate release of Ms. Zarifa Yaqoubi and her colleagues, Ms. Popelzi and dozens of other protesting women in the terrible prisons of the Taliban, they are expected to declare their solidarity and stand by the women of Afghanistan. 

The Taliban must know that by suppressing and imprisoning, torturing and killing women, they cannot silence the freedom and equality voice of Afghan women. The “Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women”, as an independent women’s movement in Afghanistan, in coordination with other Afghan women’s groups, continues to struggle for freedom, civil rights and the right to life of Afghan women. 

Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women
November 11, 2022, Kabul, Afghanistan.

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