The Taliban announced on Sunday via its Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice that Afghan women are not allowed to travel long distances without being accompanied by a male relative.
According to the now-reinstated moral ministry, women may not travel distances longer than 72km (about 45 miles) without a suitable male relative.
“Women travelling for more than 72km (45 miles) should not be offered a ride if they are not accompanied by a close family member,” ministry spokesman Sadeq Akif Muhajir said. The guidance, circulated on social media, also advises vehicle owners to refuse ride services to women who are not wearing headscarves, and banned people from listening to loud music.
The new measures come as the latest in a series of blows to women’s freedoms in Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the government in August when the US withdrew its troops.
When the Taliban took over, it quietly eliminated the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, replacing the signage on the building with new Ministry of Virtue and Vice signage, and refused to allow the women who had shown up for work to enter the building. The Taliban has also barred women from attending school, holding professional positions, and instructed female newscasters to wear hijabs.
Human rights groups across the globe have criticized the Taliban’s treatment of women since its takeover on August 15. Heather Barr, the group’s associate director of women’s rights, told AFP, “This new [travel] order essentially moves… further in the direction of making women prisoners.”
Barr continued, “[The new guidance] shuts off opportunities for [women] to be able to move about freely, to travel to another city, to do business, (or) to be able to flee if they are facing violence in the home.”
Minister for Higher Education Abdul Baqi Haqqani told reporters on Sunday the Taliban government is discussing ways to get Afghan women back to school, saying, “The Islamic Emirate is not against women’s education but it is against co-education.”
Haqqani continued, “We are working on building an Islamic environment where women could study … it might take some time,” he said, without specifying when girls might return to school and university classes across the country.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE WORLD NEWS
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