Taliban leader Hibatullah Achundsada has made it compulsory for women in Afghanistan to wear the burqa in public. They should wear full body coverage “as is traditional and respectful,” Achundsada said in an edit on Saturday.
“Those women who are neither too old nor too young must cover their faces, except the eyes, in accordance with Sharia guidelines,” the decree reads. In this way, “provocations” should be avoided when dating men who are not close relatives. Women should also “stay home better” if they don’t have important business to attend to outside the home.
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A burqa also covers the eyes of the wearer with a sort of grid of fabric. This is the strictest restriction on the lives of Afghan women since the Taliban took over last August.
The burqa was already compulsory for women under the first Islamist regime. Since coming to power in August, wearing the burqa is only recommended. The hijab, a scarf that leaves the face exposed, was already compulsory. However, especially in rural areas, many women in this deeply conservative and patriarchal country already wore full body coverage.
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The dreaded Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has published several “guidelines” for women’s clothing in recent months. Saturday’s executive order was the first such national order.
At the time, the Taliban had promised a moderate government. In recent months, however, many women’s freedoms have been curtailed.
Secondary schools for girls were first opened and closed after a few hours. Tens of thousands of women who worked for the government lost their jobs. Women are also only allowed to leave Afghanistan if they are accompanied by a male relative. They were also ordered to park in the Afghan capital on days other than those visit men. A few Afghan women had demonstrated against the restrictions. However, the Taliban took strict action against unauthorized gatherings and arrested several of the initiators. (AFP)