Taliban decree orders Afghan women to cover their faces



CNN

Afghan women must cover their faces in public, according to an edict issued by the Taliban on Saturday.

The new rules state that women must cover their faces, ideally while wearing the traditional burqa, according to a statement from the General Directorate of Administrative Affairs.

If a woman breaks the rules, her “male guardian” will be visited and advised, and eventually imprisoned and sentenced. Women who work in government offices and do not comply with the new decree will be fired.

The Taliban have been criticized for restricting women’s rights and freedoms in various areas of public life.

“The Taliban cannot erase us, they cannot. It’s not like the 1990s or before – they have to accept [women]. They have no other choice,” former Afghan politician and women’s rights activist Zarifa Ghafari told CNN last month.

In December, the Taliban banned women from making long road trips alone in Afghanistan, requiring a male relative to accompany them for any distance over 45 miles. The new rules also called on drivers not to allow women without veils to sit in their cars.

These are aimed at preventing women from suffering harm or “inconvenience”, according to Mohammad Sadiq Hakif Mahajer, spokesman for the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

In November, the Taliban issued guidelines for broadcasters banning all dramas, soap operas and entertainment programs featuring women. Female news anchors are also now required to wear the headscarf on screen. These were the first such restrictions imposed on the country’s media network.

And despite early promises from the Taliban that women would retain their education rights, girls’ high schools were closed in March on the morning they were due to open.

In January, UN Secretary General António Guterres called on Taliban leaders to recognize and protect the basic human rights of women and girls. “No country can prosper by denying the rights of half its people,” he said.

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