Afghanistan orders women to cover their faces in public

Afghanistan orders women to cover their faces in public

 The Afghan Taliban government ordered women to cover their faces in public on Saturday (7/5/2022). They reverted to a typical policy of past hard-line rule and an escalation of restrictions that caused outrage at home and abroad. A decree from the group's supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, says that if a woman does not cover her face outside the house, her father or her closest male relative will be visited. They may also be imprisoned or fired from state jobs.

 "We call on the world to cooperate with the Islamic Emirate and the Afghan people. Do not disturb us. Do not bring more pressure, because history is a witness, Afghans will not be affected by pressure," said Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, Minister for the Spread of Virtue and Prevention of Evil. . The ideal face covering is the all-encompassing blue burqa, the group said, referring to the attire that was mandatory for women in public during the previous 1996-2001 Taliban rule. 

Most women in Afghanistan wear the hijab for religious reasons, but in urban areas such as Kabul many do not cover their faces. The Taliban has faced strong criticism, not only from Western governments, but also by some scholars of religion and Islamic countries, for restricting women's rights including closing girls' secondary schools. 
The United Nations Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement on Saturday that it would soon hold a meeting with the Taliban on the issue. UNAMA added that it would consult others in the international community on the implications of the decision.
"UNAMA is deeply concerned by today's announcement by the de facto authorities of the Taliban. 

This decision contradicts many guarantees regarding respect and protection of the human rights of all Afghans," the statement said. The United States and others have cut development aid and imposed sanctions on the banking system since the group took over in August 2021, pushing Afghanistan toward economic collapse. The Taliban say it has changed since its last rule, but in recent months it added regulations restricting the movement of women without male escorts and barring men and women from visiting parks together.

 "It interferes with women's private lives," said Kabul-based women's rights advocate Mahbouba Seraj. "Today we have many other problems, like suicide attacks, poverty, people dying every day, our girls can't go to school, women can't work. But they just think and talk and make laws about hijab," he added.

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