The Taliban government in Afghanistan continues to stifle room for any kind of dissent, even if it be the demand for basic human rights. Concerning reports emerged over the weekend that Taliban fighters beat women protestors and fired into the air on Saturday as they violently dispersed a rally. About 40 women were marching and demanding the very basic rights of bread, work and freedom in front of the education ministry building before they were confronted with heavy-handed tactics.

This is not the first time the Taliban have prevented citizens from staging protests, and this has been a regular occurrence if the women of the country dare to take a stand for their rights. The reports are quite unsettling as some women protestors were forced to take refuge in nearby shops after being chased and beaten by Taliban fighters with their rifle butts. In addition to this, some of the journalists who were covering the demonstration were also on the receiving end of violence from the Taliban fighters.

Despite plenty of promises of a softer and more inclusive approach to governance, the current Taliban government has proven to be no different from its first stint in 1996. Various restrictions have been imposed over the past year, especially on women; tens of thousands of girls have been shut out of secondary schools, while women have been barred from returning to many government jobs. There are severe restrictions on the mobility of women as well as they have been banned from travelling alone on long trips and can only visit public gardens and parks in the capital on days separate from men.

Such violence against non-violent protestors is extremely condemnable and it appears that at this point the Taliban is not even willing to lip service to fulfilling the promises it had made to the international community and the country’s people when coming into power. It is inspiring and incredible to see these women risk their lives to demand basic freedoms, but it shouldn’t have to be this way, especially considering all that they have already experienced over the past two decades. The Taliban government is also just proving its critics right by showing its inability to evolve and mature into a political entity that can abide by and respect fundamental human rights and international norms.