Taliban forces women in Afghanistan to return to wearing head-to-toe burkhas – Reuters

The Taliban’s U-turn on the burka – an all-covering veil designed to prevent any part of a woman’s body from being exposed – comes amid escalating restrictions against women’s rights in Afghan public spaces

The supreme head of the Sharia state today ordered women to cover their faces when in public

The Taliban will once again force Afghan women to wear the burkha from head to toe in another U-turn on promises to reform women’s rights in the country.

The supreme head of the Sharia state today ordered women to cover their faces when in public.

It is the latest escalation in restrictions against women in public spaces that has drawn backlash from the international community and some sections of the Afghan public.

The group’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, has issued an executive order outlining how a woman’s father or closest male relative will be visited by the Taliban if a female family member is outside her home without veil.

If the woman is a repeat offender and continues to leave the house uncovered, her male relative could be imprisoned or fired from a government job.

And the Taliban’s ideal cover-up is the blue burka, a spokesman for the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice told a news conference in Kabul.

The blue burka – which covers every inch of a woman’s body from head to toe – has become a global symbol of the brutal Taliban regime of 1996-2001.







Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada posing for a photo at an undisclosed location in 2016
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Afghan Taliban/AFP via Getty Ima)







Under new decree, male relatives of women caught in the open could face severe punishment
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AFP via Getty Images)

Most women in Afghanistan wear headscarves for religious reasons, but many in urban areas like Kabul do not cover their faces.

The group has faced intense backlash, led by Western governments but joined by some religious scholars and Islamic countries in their increasing limits on women’s rights.

A surprise U-turn in March in which the group closed girls’ high schools on the morning they were due to open sparked international anger and prompted the United States to cancel planned meetings to ease the country’s financial crisis.







Taliban supreme leader says burka is ideal attire for women to wear in public
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AFP via Getty Images)

Some of the young girls were seen coming home from school in tears after the Taliban reversed the decision.

Officials said they sent the girls home because it had not been decided which school uniforms the children should wear.

The inconsolable girls wearing their school uniforms left the school grounds sobbing after being turned away and told to go straight home.

A teacher at a girls’ school in Kabul was quoted by Aljazeera as saying, “I see my students crying and reluctant to leave class. It is very painful to see his students cry.







Western countries have implemented sanctions against the Sharia state since the Taliban takeover in August
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Picture:

AFP via Getty Images)

Washington and other countries have cut development aid and imposed tough sanctions on the banking system since the Taliban took power in August, pushing the country toward economic ruin.

The Taliban said this had changed since their last decision when they banned girls’ education or women left home without a male relative and women were required to cover their faces.

However, in recent months the administration has increased its restrictions on women, including rules limiting their travel without a male escort and prohibiting men and women from visiting parks at the same time.

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