How the Taliban are ‘eliminating women’ in Afghanistan

  • Date of Publication : 9/05/2022 at 16:51 GMT
Taliban women Afghanistan

If there was any hope that the Taliban would pay heed to repeated calls from Afghanistan’s civil society and the international community to uphold women’s rights, the Islamic fundamentalist group’s latest decree for women to cover their faces in public has dashed it.

The latest order to make veil compulsory is one of the harshest controls on women’s lives in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power in August last year. It is also reminiscent of the Islamist outfit’s strict Shariah-based rule in the late 1990s.

“They [women] should wear a chadori [head-to-toe burqa] as it is traditional and respectful,” Afghanistan’s Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said on Saturday.

The statement said the measure was introduced “in order to avoid provocation when meeting men who are not mahram [adult close male relatives],” adding that if women had no important work outside it was “better they stay at home.”

From now on, if a woman does not cover her face outside the home, according to the decree, her father or closest male relative could be imprisoned or fired from government jobs.

Older women and young girls are exempt from the latest Taliban order.

Decree condemned by civil society
Many Afghan women traditionally wear the hijab, but not all of them wear an all-covering burqa in public. The new order will restrict their mobility and access to employment.

Following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Afghan women earned many rights, which the Taliban had taken away from 1996 to 2001. The hard-earned rights included the right to choose how they dress, and the right to employment and education.

Since they retook power, the international community has been urging the Taliban to allow girls to go to school and give them more freedom in society. Instead, the new Afghan rulers have done the contrary and backslided on women’s rights.

Daud Naji, a former Afghan government official, wrote on Twitter that the Taliban have imposed a type of Hijab that is not suitable for working in office or in the field.

“The Taliban have imposed the burqa, which abolishes [a woman’s] identity… The issue is not the hijab but the elimination of women,” he said.

Nahid Farid, a former Afghan member of parliament and women’s rights activist, has dubbed the veil mandate a “symbol of gender apartheid.”

“The dress code for women, and putting men as executors of this plan, along with the Taliban’s restrictions on girls’ education, prove that the group seeks to control the body and mind of half of the population,” she wrote on Facebook.