Taliban Launches New Rule For Women

On Saturday, the Taliban administration in Afghanistan issued an edict, requiring women to cover their faces in public, reviving a policy abolished more than 20 years ago. 

Punishment of Male Relatives

Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada decided a woman’s refusal to cooperate could result in the incarceration or loss of employment for her father or closest male relative. 

“We urge the international community to comply with the Islamic Emirate and the citizens of Afghanistan. Do not disturb us.”

As Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, the director for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, said at a media briefing, “Don’t add more pressure because, as history has shown, Afghans are immune to pressure.” 

The group said in a statement that the recommended covering would be a blue burqa, the full-body garment used by Afghan women during Taliban control. 

Despite the fact the majority of Afghan women currently wear a headscarf, the new rule and its implementation enhance the restriction and punishment imposed on a woman’s family. 

On Saturday, the United Nations agency in Afghanistan (UNAMA) issued a statement opposing the verdict. 

“UNAMA is seriously worried by today’s announcement by Taliban de facto officials that all women should cover their faces in public.”

“UNAMA is seriously worried that women must only leave their dwellings only when necessary and that infringements of this rule will result in punishment for their male relatives,” read the report. 

“The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) will immediately request talks with the Taliban’s de facto authorities to clarify the status of this decision.”

According to the statement, UNAMA will also consult with international bodies about the implications.

Alarm and Worries

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, also expressed alarm over the new announcement. 

This is one of a number of campaigns to defend the rights of Afghan women, following the Taliban’s return to power and the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last year. 

The Washington Post said since the Taliban took power in August, the group jailed dozens of women’s rights activists, limited access to schooling for women and girls, and barred women from traveling internationally without a male guardian. 

“Under the Taliban administration, many women were prohibited from the job, due to rules prohibiting men and women from working in close proximity,” the report noted. 

It was previously revealed that Taliban troops have asserted they are preparing an education curriculum for 2022.

Still, the State Department informed the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction that there is no proof it has been implemented. 

Women in Afghanistan have also been fired since the Taliban group seized power.

According to the United Nations Development Program, restrictions on female employment might result in a $1 billion economic loss and a 5% decline in GDP.

Prior to the Taliban takeover, more than 20 percent of Afghanistan’s employment consisted of women.