Taliban Orders Women to Cover Their Faces As Restrictive Sharia Rule Sets In

Photo by Elin Tabitha on Unsplash

The Taliban is being criticized by Afghanistan’s former government officials as the self-appointed new government has ordered women to cover their faces in public as was the case when the group ran the country prior to 2001.

According to reports, Taliban Chief Haibatullah Akhunzada issued the decree requiring burqas for women last week.

“They should wear a chadori [head-to-toe burqa] as it is traditional and respectful,” he ordered, according to News 9.

The decree was also announced by the Taliban’s Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice ministry, according to Al Jazeera.

It was expected that such orders would be put in place after the Taliban took over as Afghanistan’s interim government after driving out the U.S.-backed government ahead of the withdrawal of American allied forces from the country after 20 years.

In December, The Christian Post notes, the ministry ordered that women would be forbidden from traveling more than 45 miles from their home without a male relative.

In March, the Taliban said that girls would not be allowed to attend school beyond the sixth grade, which conflicts with their interpretation of Islamic law.

The decrees targeting women can result in fines or imprisonment for their close male relatives. Women are also ordered to stay at home unless they have work to do elsewhere.

This comes after two decades of relative liberty for women as compared to the previous Taliban regime; although the country is overwhelmingly Muslim, under the previous government women enjoyed far more career and educational opportunities and held government positions.

One such woman, former Afghan Parliament Member Fawzia Koofi, took to Twitter to criticize the Taliban’s new decree and neglect of the economic crisis the nation is facing, stating strongly that face coverings are meant to be a personal choice in Islam, not a requirement.

“While more than 35 [million] people are on the edge of starvation, the Taliban’s only priority seems to be women’s clothing,” she wrote.

“Women of Afghanistan have always dressed up according to Islamic principles. Burqa is a traditional wear and has always been an individual choice and never compulsory in Islam.”

Although the Taliban strongly signaled to foreign leaders that it would not govern as repressively as the previous regime when it comes to the rights of women and girls, it appears that is most certainly not to be.

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