In its latest move contradictory to its pledge last year not to infringe on the rights of women in Afghanistan, the Taliban announced this week that women and pubescent girls must wear head-to-toe clothing when they are in public.
The Taliban’s Ministry of Virtue and Vice announced this week that it would be requiring women to wear loosely-fitted, full-coverage clothing with only their eyes visible. The directive comes after a series of moves by the Taliban after they took power in August last year that seek to oppress the freedoms of Afghan women.
The Taliban previously banned girls from attending secondary school or above, as well as required a woman who is traveling more than 45 to travel with a male relative, or be refused transportation to her destination. Women in Afghanistan are also now barred from holding professional positions in business or to appear on television without a hijab.
According to the Bakhtar News Agency, the directive’s specific rules were not detailed by the Taliban, but the Ministry of Virtue and Vice says the new laws will be enforced in its early stages by preaching and persuasion, but then by punishment. The new law will place the burden of enforcement on the men in each household, holding them to account if a woman in their home defies the law.
The Taliban’s effort to oppress women began immediately after the United States withdrew its troops in a dramatic week-long exit. Taliban forces began removing images of women from shop windows and billboards, and placed limitations on their movement, dress, work, and education.
“The Taliban are really taking a very significant step in terms of stripping away what autonomy still remains for women and girls,” said Human Rights Watch employee Heather Barr.
“They’re creating a situation where it’s not even in the hands of women and girls themselves to make a decision about whether they’re going to resist the Taliban on this, what what types of risks they’re willing to take with their own safety because it’s their male family members who are being endangered, not them.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: TIMES OF ISRAEL