As the world waits to see what the Taliban will do next, now that it has entirely taken over Afghanistan, vulnerable Afghan women have taken to the streets to demand their rights be upheld, as well as that they'll be represented in the newly-formed government.

Women marched for their right to be educated and to work, as dozens of participants protested out in the streets of Herat, the largest city in Western Afghanistan, for their voices to be heard. There, they faced off with Taliban soldiers who were surprised by the unscheduled demonstration, according to the Washington Post.

“For two weeks, I was home and weeping,” Sabira Taheri, an organizer of the protest, said. “It was enough. We had to break our silence.”

The groups were spurred to take to the streets to protest the Taliban’s lack of respect and representation for women with signs that bore slogans “No government is stable without the support of women,” and chants screaming “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid. We are together.”

The rare demonstration comes as women fear for their lives and the loss of their freedom, knowing that when the Taliban first took over, the extremists embraced a hardline stance that prevented women from working, going to school, or leaving their houses unaccompanied.

In their efforts to boost their legitimacy, the Taliban has said that they will respect women’s rights within the bounds of Sharia law, but many women in the country do not believe them, according to the BBC.

In Kabul, a make-up artist named Afsoon is in hiding after the Taliban takeover has forcibly shut down the beauty salons of the country, saying that she fears for her life under their brutal rule.

“Women in the beauty industry, especially people like me who were visible and public with our work are targets,” Afsoon said.

She also remarked that “[t]here is no way they would approve of seeing unveiled faces, or the necks of women on display. They have always been very clear on their belief that a woman must not attract attention.”

She is currently hiding out in a safe house as she mulls a new embattled chapter in her life. Meanwhile, Taheri is encouraging women to fight for their human rights in the face of the Taliban.

“I was afraid, but I told the women that I would stand in the first row,” she said.

Afghan women have taken to the streets as they protest the Taliban's misogynistic policies and demand a place in the government to uphold human rights. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

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