The Taliban order Afghan women to cover themselves completely in public

On Saturday, the Taliban imposed some of the toughest restrictions on Afghan women since they took power, ordering them to cover themselves completely in public, ideally in the traditional burqa.

The militants regained control of the country in August last year, promising a softer government than in the previous period in power between 1996 and 2001, marked by human rights violations.

But they have already imposed a number of restrictions on women, banning them from doing many government jobs, secondary education, and from traveling alone outside their cities.

On Saturday, Afghanistan’s supreme leader and Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada approved a strict dress code for women when in public.

The decree stated that the best way for a woman to cover her face and body was to wear the chadari, a traditional blue Afghan burqa that covers everything.

“They should wear a chadari because it is traditional and respectful,” says a decree approved by Akhundzada and issued by the Taliban authorities during a ceremony in Kabul.

“Women who are not too old or young should cover their faces, except their eyes, as per Sharia guidelines, to avoid provocation when they meet men who are not mahram (close adult male relatives),” it reads.

The order was supposed to trigger a flurry of sentences abroad.

Many in the international community want humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and recognition by the Taliban government to be linked to the restoration of women’s rights.

Akhundzada’s decree also said that if there was no reason for women to leave their homes, then it was “better that they stay home”.

During their first regime, the Taliban made the burqa mandatory for women.

Since their return to power, their dreaded Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has issued several “guidelines” on what women should wear, but Saturday’s edict was one of the strictest national orders limiting women’s rights.

“Islam has never recommended chadari for women,” said a women’s rights activist who asked not to be named.

“I believe the Taliban are becoming regressive instead of being progressive. They are returning to the way they were in their previous regime. “

Another women’s rights activist, Muska Dastageer, said the Taliban government triggered “too much anger and disbelief”.

“We are a broken nation forced to endure assaults that we fail to understand. As a people we are crushed, “she said on Twitter.

Hardliner Islamists sparked international outrage in March when they ordered the closure of secondary schools for girls, hours after they reopened for the first time since taking power.

Officials have never justified the ban, other than stating that girls’ education must be according to “Islamic principles”.

This ban was also issued by Akhundzada, according to several Taliban officials.

Women were also ordered to visit the capital’s parks on days apart from men.

Some Afghan women initially forcefully pushed back, holding small rallies and protests demanding the right to education and work.

But the Taliban cracked down on these unauthorized demonstrations and rounded up many of the leaders, holding them incommunicado while denying that they had been detained.

In the 20 years between the two periods in power of the Taliban, girls were allowed to go to school and women were able to look for work in all sectors, although the country remained socially conservative.

Many women already wear the burqa in rural areas.