December 6, 2022

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Afghanistan: Supreme Leader orders women to wear burqa in public

Afghanistan: Supreme Leader orders women to wear burqa in public

The Taliban have imposed strict restrictions on women’s liberties in Afghanistan, and on Saturday publicly imposed a full mask, preferably a burqa, a statement that feminist activists have strongly criticized.

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In a decree issued at a ceremony in Kabul, Hibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of the Taliban and Afghanistan, ordered women to cover their bodies and faces completely with the burqa, a full veil blue mesh at eye level, which is the best choice for this.

Women should wear “chadri” [autre nom de la burqa]Because it is traditional and dignified ”, refers to this decree.

“According to Sharia recommendations, women, both young and old, should cover their face except for their eyes to avoid any provocation when meeting a person who is not a close member of their family. He adds.

And if they have no reason to go out, “they better stay home”.

The decree also lists penalties for adults in families who do not enforce full mask wearing. The first two offenses are punishable by a general warning. On the third day, they were imprisoned for three days, and on the fourth day they were brought to court.

In addition, any government employee who does not wear a full mask will be fired immediately.

“Islam has never recommended Chadri,” a women’s rights activist who remained in Afghanistan on condition of anonymity told AFP.

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“The Taliban, instead of being progressive, are going backwards. How they behaved in their first diet is the same as they were 20 years ago,” she added.

Broken promises

“We are a broken country, we have to endure attacks that we do not understand. We are torn as a people, ”tweeted Muska Dastagir, a former professor at the now-defunct American University of Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban came back to power in mid-August, the dreaded Ministry for Virtuous Promotion and Vice Prevention has issued a number of recommendations on how women should dress. However, this is the first legislation to be issued nationally on the subject.

The Taliban has previously demanded that women wear at least a hijab and a headscarf, but this would expose the face. But when they came to power between 1996 and 2001 it was strongly recommended that the burqa must be worn.

During their first rule, they deprived women of almost all rights in accordance with the strictest interpretation of Sharia and Islamic law.

Agents from the Ministry of Dharma Promotion and Vice Prevention whipped those caught without a burqa.

After they returned to power, the Taliban promised to be more lenient this time, after 20 years of occupation by the United States and its allies who ousted them in 2001.

But they soon withdrew their promises, gradually eroding rights again and wiping out 20 years of women’s freedom.

Women are now largely barred from government jobs and are prohibited from traveling long distances abroad or in the country except with male family members.

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Complex international recognition

In March, the Taliban closed high schools and colleges for girls just hours before they reopened. This unpredictable voltage has slammed the international community for not justifying the education of girls except to say that it should take place in accordance with Sharia law.

The Taliban also imposed segregation of men and women in public parks in Kabul, allocating visitation days to each gender.

The decree issued on Saturday further complicates the Taliban’s search for international recognition, with the international community directly linked to respecting women’s rights.

“This is an unexpected step back. It will not help the Taliban gain international recognition. Such programs will only intensify the opposition to them,” Pakistani analyst Intiaz Gul told AFP.

Over the past two decades, Afghan women have gained new freedom, returning to school or applying for jobs in all fields, even though the country is socially traditional.

After the Taliban came to power, women first tried to assert their rights by holding demonstrations in Kabul and other major cities.

But they severely suppressed the movement, arresting many activists and detaining some, sometimes for weeks.

The burqa is a traditional Afghan dress widely worn in remote and traditional parts of the country. Before the Taliban returned to power, many Afghan women wore masks, if only with a loose scarf.