Meanwhile Taliban fire on women's rights rally in Kabul, Red Cross warns of impending humanitarian crisis

The Taliban on Thursday ordered their fighters to leave private homes they had taken over during last month’s blitz when the group seized control of Afghanistan, an apparent effort to impose order among Taliban ranks.

Meanwhile, in the capital of Kabul, the Taliban fired shots to disperse a women’s rally demanding equal rights while the regional chief for the International Federation of the Red Cross warned that Afghanistan was sliding into a deep “major humanitarian crisis” with the coming winter and severe financial shortfalls.

The order by Taliban Prime Minister Hasan Akhund followed recent public statements by Taliban officials hinting at plans to improve organization and marshal fighters. It said Taliban members belonging to the militant group’s defense, interior and intelligence agencies who are living in private homes need to “report back to military bases” across the country.

In recent weeks, the Taliban abandoned their traditional, civilian dress and donned military fatigues to project an air of authority. Bilal Karimi, a Taliban security official, confirmed the directive to The Associated Press.

The Afghan army abandoned most of its positions or surrendered to the Taliban during the August blitz, allowing Taliban fighters to take over military bases as well.

In Kabul on Thursday, the Taliban fired shots to disperse a small rally of six women outside a local school, demanding equal rights to education. They confiscated posters held by the women that read: “Do not burn our books!”

Other women coming to join the protest in the Kart-e-Char neighborhood were later told to go home, according to a witness who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing Taliban reprisal. Mawlawi Nasratullah, a Taliban official, later told reporters women had not asked for permission to rally.

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