Taliban leaders in Afghanistan on Saturday ordered all Afghan women to wear the burka covering everything in public, a radical pivot that confirmed the worst fears of rights activists and could only further complicate the Taliban’s relationship with an international community. already suspicious.
The decree referred to similar restrictions imposed on women during the previous intransigent Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001.
“We want our sisters to live in dignity and security,” said Khalid Hanafi, acting minister of the Taliban’s Ministry of Vices and Virtue.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice read out the decree of the group’s supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada at a press conference in Kabul, saying that a woman’s father or relative closest male would be visited and possibly imprisoned or fired from government jobs if she did not cover her face outside the home.
The Taliban had previously decided not to reopen schools for girls beyond grade 6, reneging on an earlier promise and opting to appease their hardline base at the expense of further alienation from the international community.
The move has disrupted Taliban efforts to win recognition from potential international donors at a time when the country is mired in a deepening humanitarian crisis.
“For all dignified Afghan women, wearing the hajib is necessary and the best hajib is the chadori (head-to-toe burqa) which is part of our tradition and is respectful,” said Shir Mohammad, an official from the ministry of vice and virtue in a statement.
The decree adds that if women do not have important work outside, it is better for them to stay at home. “Islamic principles and Islamic ideology are more important to us than anything else,” Hanafi said.