Taliban orders Afghan women to cover faces in public

Taliban orders Afghan women to cover faces in public

Male relatives face job loss or arrest if women from their families disobey new decree

Afghan women wait to receive food packages being distributed by a Saudi humanitarian aid group at a distribution centre in Kabul on April 25. (Reuters Photo)
Afghan women wait to receive food packages being distributed by a Saudi humanitarian aid group at a distribution centre in Kabul on April 25. (Reuters Photo)

The Taliban on Saturday ruled that Afghan women must cover their faces, according to a decree from the group’s supreme leader, an escalation of growing restrictions on women that is drawing backlash from the international community and many Afghans.

A spokesman for the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice read the decree from the group’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, at a news conference in Kabul.

He said that a woman’s father or closest male relative would be visited and eventually imprisoned or fired from government jobs if she did not cover her face while outside the home.

They added that the ideal face covering was the all-encompassing blue burqa, which became a global symbol of the Taliban’s previous hardline regime from 1996 until 2001.

Most women in Afghanistan wear a headscarf for religious reasons, but many in urban areas such as Kabul do not cover their faces.

The group has faced intense pushback, led by Western governments but joined by some religious scholars and Islamic countries for their growing limits on women’s rights.

A surprise U-turn in March in which the group shuttered girls’ high schools on the morning they were due to open drew the ire of the international community and prompted the United States to cancel planned meetings on easing country’s financial crisis.

Washington and other countries have cut development aid and enforced strict sanctions on the banking system, since the Taliban took over in August, pushing the country towards economic ruin.

The Taliban has said it has changed since it last ruled when it banned girls’ education or women leaving the house without a male relative and women were required to wear cover their faces.

However in recent months the administration has increased its restrictions on women including rules limiting their travel without a male chaperone and banning men and women from visiting parks at the same time.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (46)

Health ministry clarifies ATK tests only for high-risk and symptomatic students

The Ministry of Public Health has confirmed that antigen tests for Covid-19 are not required for students returning to school for the new semester but should be administered to children considered high risk or showing mild symptoms.

19:39

Former FTI chairman joins Thai Sang Thai

Former Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree has entered politics as the economic chief of the Thai Sang Thai Party.

18:56

Laos may face 'gaps' in gasoline supply as prices soar, major supplier says

Gasoline supplies in Laos may face "some gaps", a major supplier said on Monday, after the government held an emergency meeting to address soaring prices and panic buying in the Southeast Asian nation.

18:33