Taliban order Afghan women to cover themselves from head to toe in public – National

Afghan Taliban rulers on Saturday ordered all Afghan women to wear head-to-toe clothing in public — a sharp, hard line that confirmed the worst fears of human rights activists and would further complicate Taliban dealings with an already distrustful international community. .

The decree, which calls on women to show only their eyes and recommends wearing a head-to-toe burqa, imposed similar restrictions on women during the Taliban’s previous reign between 1996 and 2001.

“We want our sisters to live in dignity and safety,” said Khalid Hanafi, acting minister of the Taliban Ministry of Vice and Virtue.

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The Taliban have previously decided not to reopen schools for girls above grade 6, reneging on a previous pledge and choosing to appease their hard-core base at the cost of further alienating the international community.

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That decision disrupted the Taliban’s efforts to gain recognition from potential international donors at a time when the country is embroiled in an exacerbating humanitarian crisis.

“We must wear hijab for all worthy Afghan women and the best hijab is chadori (the head-to-toe burqa) which is part of our tradition and respectful,” said Shir Mohammad, an official in the Ministry of Vice and Virtue in a statement. statement.

“Women who are neither too old nor too young should cover their faces, except for the eyes,” he said.

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The decree added that if women did not have important work outside the home, they were better off staying at home. “Islamic principles and Islamic ideology are more important to us than anything else,” Hanafi said.

Senior Afghanistan researcher Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch urged the international community to put coordinated pressure on the Taliban.

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“(It is) long gone for a serious and strategic response to the escalating Taliban attack on women’s rights,” she wrote on Twitter.

The Taliban were ousted in 2001 by a US-led coalition for housing Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and returned to power after America’s chaotic departure last year.

Since taking power last August, Taliban leaders have been bickering among themselves as they struggle to make the transition from war to government. It has hardliners against the more pragmatic among them,

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Infuriating many Afghans is the knowledge that many of the younger generation Taliban, such as Sirajuddin Haqqani, are raising their girls in Pakistan, while in Afghanistan women and girls have been the target of their repressive edicts since they came to power.

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Since the return of the Taliban, girls in most of the country have been banned from school after grade 6. Universities opened in much of the country earlier this year, but since they came to power, Taliban edicts have been lifted. been erratic. While a handful of provinces continued to provide education for all, most provinces closed educational institutions for girls and women.

The religiously driven Taliban administration fears that continuing to enroll girls after sixth grade could alienate their nationwide base, Hashmi said.

In the capital, Kabul, private schools and universities have operated uninterrupted.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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