This past Saturday, the Taliban government in Afghanistan issued an order that stated that women must return to completely covering their faces while in public, reinstating a heavily restrictive and backwards policy that was originally ended well over twenty years ago.
Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada issued the ruling that any woman who chooses to defy this order and refuses to comply would result in her father, or other closest male relative, seeing prison time or loss of a state job.
“We call on the world to co-operate with the Islamic Emirate and people of Afghanistan … Don’t bother us. Don’t bring more pressure, because history is witness, Afghans won’t be affected by pressure,” stated the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, via a news conference, read a report from Reuters.
The terror group announced that the standard covering would be a blue burqa, the head-to-toe garment that, under the Taliban’s previous rule, was forced upon all Afghan women.
Reportedly, most Afghan women already wear a covering headscarf, but this newest decree and its overall enforcement increased the regulation and the resulting punishment on the family of the woman.
The United Nations’ mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) put forth its own statement this past Saturday standing in opposition to the ruling.
“UNAMA is deeply concerned with today’s announcement by the Taliban de facto authorities that all women must cover their faces in public, that women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity, and that violations of this directive will lead to the punishment of their male relatives,” read the release.
“UNAMA will immediately request meetings with the Taliban de facto authorities to seek clarification on the status of this decision. UNAMA will also engage in consultations with members of the international community regarding its implications,” continued the statement.
The Secretary-General of the U.N., António Guterres, also issued concerns due to the recently released decree.
“I’m alarmed by today’s announcement by the Taliban that women must cover their faces in public and leave home only in cases of necessity,” he stated in a tweet. “I once again urge the Taliban to keep their promises to Afghan women & girls, and their obligations under international human rights law.”
I'm alarmed by today's announcement by the Taliban that women must cover their faces in public and leave home only in cases of necessity.
I once again urge the Taliban to keep their promises to Afghan women & girls, and their obligations under international human rights law.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) May 8, 2022
This new law is just one step in a multi-stage plan to try and push back against the expansion of women’s rights in Afghanistan that took place between the Taliban’s periods of ruling the country.
“Since the Taliban takeover in August, the group has imprisoned dozens of women’s rights activists, restricted access to education for women and girls, and blocked women from international travel without a male guardian,” reported a story from the Washington Post concerning the announcement.
“Many women have also been barred from the workplace under Taliban rule because of guidelines forbidding men and women to work in proximity to one another,” stated the report.