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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 19:07 GMT
Kabul women's march thwarted
Two women, Shelke and Nazefa, who had planned to take part in the march
Some women are again allowed to work in Kabul
The Northern Alliance has prevented a group of women from marching through the streets of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

About 50 members of the newly formed Union of Women in Afghanistan (UWA) gathered in an apartment, intending to march to the United Nations compound to demand more rights.

March organiser Soraya Parlika
Ms Parlika accuses the alliance of holding women back
But Northern Alliance Interior Minister Yunus Qanuni on Tuesday confirmed an earlier ruling that the march would not be allowed.

It was the second time in a week the women had been refused permission to walk to the main UN compound, with security given as the reason both times.

The women said the official reason was just a pretext and that the alliance did not want women to improve their position.

Kabul situation 'not good'

March organiser and UWA head Soraya Parlika said Mr Qanuni, who is currently leading the Northern Alliance delegation to the Afghan talks in Bonn, rang her personally two days ago to say the march was not to go ahead.


[The Northern Alliance] announced that women were free, but it is not freedom to throw off our veils. That is not the liberty we want

Women's rights activist Nafeesa

"He said we should wait for an unspecified time," she said.

As women began gathering at her home early on Tuesday, hopeful the decision would be reversed, Ms Parlika received a follow-up call from an interior ministry official, again refusing the march.

"[The Northern Alliance] announced that women were free, but it is not freedom to throw off our veils. That is not the liberty we want," said a disappointed Nafeesa, 17, who was planning to take part in the march.

"Right now the situation in Kabul is not good. It is not what we wanted."

Ban on women

Under the Taleban, women were banned from attending schools and universities or denied the right to work.

There have been a few advances in the past two weeks since the alliance took over the Afghan capital, with women broadcasters allowed to return to work in television and radio, but that is being seen as a token gesture by the would-be protesters.

"We want to fulfil our rights, but they won't let us," said one, 29-year-old Nadir.

Ms Parlika said she would not plan any further marches until the outcome of the Bonn talks was known.

See also:

24 Nov 01 | South Asia
Kabul women keep the veil
23 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan women enjoy their freedom
23 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan women to attend talks
20 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan women shed their burqas
18 Oct 01 | Forum
Women and the Taleban
25 Sep 01 | South Asia
Afghanistan's clandestine army
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