Afghan women take up arms against Taliban

As the US withdraws and the Taliban advance across large stretches of Afghanistan, women are taking up weapons in local militias to defend their villages. In Ghor province, ethnic Hazara women posed for social-media photos wielding rifles and rocket-launchers, pledging to resist by arms a return to "the dark era of Taliban." With US and NATO forces evacuating Bagram Air Base, prelude to a full withdrawal by Sept. 11, the Taliban are rapidly seizing territory. Since launching a spring offensive, the Taliban have doubled their area of control, and now hold nearly 100 of Afghanistan's 407 districts. In retreat, the central government is calling upon civilians to form militias to fight back.

In an unnerving incident this week, more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers fled across the border into Tajikistan after a defeat at the hands of the Taliban in Badakhshan and Takhar provinces, where roads were blocked and retreat to Kabul cut off. (India TodayAl JazeeraBBC News, BBC News, LWJ, PBS)

The women of Ghor province would be doubly at threat from the Taliban —both as woman and as Hazaras.