The move is one of the harshest restrictions imposed on women in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power last year.
Afghanistan’s supreme leader has ordered the country’s women to cover their faces in public – one of the harshest restrictions imposed on them since the Taliban seized power last year, and an escalation of mounting restrictions on women has drawn a backlash from the international community and many Afghans. .
“They should wear a burqa from head to toe because it is traditional and respected,” said a decree issued by Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhunzadeh and issued by authorities at an event in Kabul on Saturday.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice read Akhunzadeh’s decree in a media conference, saying that the woman’s father or her closest male relative would be visited and eventually imprisoned or dismissed from government jobs if she did not cover up. Her face is outside the house.
The spokesperson added that the ideal face covering is the burqa, which became a global symbol of the former hardline Taliban rule from 1996 until 2001. Most women in Afghanistan wear the hijab, but many in urban areas, such as Kabul, do not. faces.
Since the takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban have re-imposed severe restrictions on freedoms and movements, especially directed against women, which are reminiscent of their last rule in the 1990s.
Over the past few months, Taliban leaders, especially from the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, have announced many new restrictions, even as criticism and international pressure against them mount.
In December, the ministry, which replaced the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs, restricted women from traveling more than 72 kilometers (45 miles) without a male relative.
“After several months of their rule in Afghanistan, the Taliban have imposed one of the most iconic aspects of their rule since the 1990s, which is forcing women to cover their faces in public, clearly in control of the women who were the most sliced,” said Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. disturbing the population.
“If we see any of the demonstrations that have taken place since August when the Taliban took power, women and girls will be in the fore, and this is aimed at ensuring that there is no public face for women. The Taliban believe that a woman’s place is in the home. She should not go out,” she told Al Jazeera. Without a male relative, and if she goes out, she must cover her face.”
This restriction has been extended to overseas travel, and several women traveling alone have reportedly been prevented from boarding flights. Similar bans have also been imposed in many health care centers across the country, preventing women from accessing health care without a Mahram (accompanied by a man).
In January, a group of 36 United Nations human rights experts said Taliban leaders in Afghanistan are institutionalizing widespread and systematic gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.
“We are concerned about ongoing and systematic efforts to exclude women from the social, economic and political spheres across the country,” the experts said in a statement.
An abrupt turnaround in March, in which the group closed girls’ high schools the morning they were due to open, angered the international community and prompted the United States to cancel planned meetings on easing the country’s financial crisis.
The country was experiencing a humanitarian crisis with more than half of the population facing starvation. The Taliban has fought to revive the aid-dependent economy, which is in decline due to sanctions and exclusion from international financial institutions.
The United States and other countries have slashed development aid and imposed tough sanctions on the banking system since the Taliban took over in August, pushing the country toward economic collapse.