Taliban order Afghan women to cover faces in public
The Taliban on Saturday issued new rules that require women to cover their faces in public, saying the ideal covering is the head-to-toe burqa, Reuters reports.
The big picture: The decree is the latest in a growing list of harsh restrictions the Taliban have placed on women in recent months amid fears the group is returning to the brutal grip it ruled with in the 1990s, when women's freedoms were severely restricted.
- The Taliban in March abruptly backtracked on its promise to allow girls to attend school above grade 6.
- The group has also placed restrictions on women's movement.
- Not long after the Taliban takeover last August, the group replaced the women's ministry with the "Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice."
What they're saying: “For all dignified Afghan women wearing Hijab is necessary and the best Hijab is chadori (the head-to-toe burqa), which is part of our tradition and is respectful,” said Shir Mohammad, an official from the vice and virtue ministry in a statement, per AP.
- “Those women who are not too old or young must cover their face, except the eyes,” he said.
- Husbands, fathers or brothers of women who do not adhere to the new rules could face imprisonment, per Afghanistan's TOLO news.
- The decree added that it is better for women who do not have important work outside the house to remain home.
Heather Barr, an associate director at Human Right Watch, tweeted Saturday that it's "far past time for a serious and strategic response to the Taliban’s escalating assault on women’s rights."
- "How the world responds has implications for women’s rights everywhere on the planet," Barr added.
- UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet last year said the Taliban's treatment of women and girls will be a "fundamental red line."
State of play: The Taliban has faced growing criticism and distrust from the international community since its takeover last year.
- Amid cuts in aid, the country faces a deepening humanitarian crisis, with more than half the population experiencing acute hunger, according to the UN.