Afghan women must cover their faces in public, orders Taliban, imposing more restrictions on women in public spaces
When the Taliban was ousted from power in 2001, Afghan women had made tremendous gains —including the right to education and work. Most of these gains have already been erased in the group’s eight months' rule now
Afghan women must cover their faces in public, Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers ordered on Saturday in a fresh decree, making it the latest in a series of restrictions the Islamists have imposed on women since its return to power last year. Public space for women in the country has diminished significantly since the group’s return to power.
The group’s infamous Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice read out a decree which it said was issued by the group’s elusive supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada.
At a press conference in Kabul, the ministry's spokesperson said if a woman didn’t cover her face outside her home, her father or closest male relative would be visited and eventually imprisoned or fired from government jobs. They also added that a blue burqa would be ideal for the purpose.
During the group’s earlier stint in power in the 90s, similar restrictions were placed across the country on women. When the Taliban was ousted from power in 2001, Afghan women had made tremendous gains —including the right to education and work. Most of these gains have already been erased in the group’s eight months' rule now.
Days earlier, the Taliban regime had also stopped issuing driving licenses to women. Women are barred from traveling long distances, including abroad, without their close male relatives. Since the collapse of the former government last year, thousands of women have lost their government jobs.
Despite sustained international pressure, the ultra-conservative regime hasn’t lifted the ban imposed on senior girls’ education, but has in fact gone ahead with more clampdowns on women. Even appeals from moderate religious clerics in the country have been ignored.
Most women in the country’s rural areas, mainly in southern and eastern parts, already cover their faces. However, in cities and north and central parts, women usually use headscarves to cover their heads only. This latest decree makes face-covering mandatory across the country.