“We invited people using social media platforms,” she said. “And there were more people than we expected. We are expecting more rallies tonight because people do not want terror and destruction. The Taliban have had no achievements since they have taken power except for killing people and spreading terror. So it was an utterly self-motivated protest, and we just coordinated and invited people to participate.”
As they marched on Tuesday morning, they carried a banner with a single word: “Freedom.”
The women chanted the same word as they walked, the Taliban watching closely. They were joined by men, many condemning Pakistan for what they view as its support for the Taliban and interference in Afghan affairs.
“We are not defending our right for a job or a position we will work in, we are defending the blood of our youth, we are defending our country, our land,” one woman said, according to video posted on social media.
As a photographer for The Times approached the demonstration on a street outside the presidential palace, known as the Arg, a convoy of at least a dozen Taliban pickup trucks raced toward it.
As soon as the Taliban fighters dismounted their trucks, they started shooting — mostly into the air, it seemed. There were no immediate reports of severe injuries or fatalities.
The people — which appeared to number several hundred — started running.