The Taliban imposed strict restrictions on women’s liberties in Afghanistan, and on Saturday publicly imposed the full burqa, preferably the burqa, a statement strongly criticized by feminist activists.
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 blue mesh at eye level, being the best choice.
Women are required to wear a “tchadri (another name for the burqa) because it is traditional and dignified”.
“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 sentenced to three days in jail, 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.
“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.
The United States has condemned the new sanctions, saying “there is growing concern that the rights of Afghan women and girls and the progress made in the region over the past twenty years are being undermined.”
The United Nations also condemned the decision. “This is contrary to the many assurances given by the Taliban representatives to the international community in recent years regarding the protection of human rights of all Afghans,” the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a statement.
Since the Taliban came back to power in August 2021, the terrible 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 have previously demanded that women wear at least a hijab and a headscarf but not their face. But when they came to power between 1996 and 2001, they strongly recommended that the burqa 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 Virtue Promotion and Vice Prevention whipped those caught without a burqa.
After they returned to power, after 20 years of occupation by the United States and its allies in 2001, the Taliban promised to be more lenient this time around.
But they immediately ignored their promises.
Afghan women are now largely excluded from government jobs and are prohibited from traveling abroad or long distances in the country without being accompanied by male family members.
Complex international recognition
In March, the Taliban closed high schools and colleges to girls, just hours after their long reopening. 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 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.