In a decree published last Saturday, Hibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme head of the Taliban and of Afghanistan, ordered women to cover completely the body and the face in public, estimating that the burqa, which only leaves a mesh at eye level, is the best option.
“They will have to wear a chador [un término que también se usa para designar al burka] because it is traditional and respectful”, Indian.
“Women who are neither too young nor too old will have to cover their face when in front of a man who is not a member of their family,” to avoid provocation, specify the text.
If you don’t have something important to do outside, it’s “better for them to stay at home”, Add.
The decree also details the punishments to which family leaders who do not enforce the use of the full veil are exposed. The first two faults, his mahram (his tutor, always a man) will deserve a warning. On the third, they will go to jail for three days and if they reoffend, they will be brought before a judge.
In addition, if a government official does not wear this type of veil, she will be immediately fired. Faced with the new restrictions, the United States expressed its concern.
“We are extremely concerned that the rights and progress that Afghan women and girls have made and enjoyed over the past 20 years are being eroded,” said a spokesman for the US State Department.
Washington and its international partners, he noted, are concerned “Deeply the recent steps taken by the Taliban “in relation to women and girls, including restrictions on education and travel”.
Since the return to power of the Islamist group, in mid-August, the feared Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice had published several slogans on how women should dress. This is the first national decree on the subject.
Until now, the Taliban had required women to wear at least a hijab, a veil that covers the head but leaves the face uncovered, while recommending the use of a burqa. “Islam has never recommended the chador”a women’s rights activist who is still living in Afghanistan told AFP.
“The Taliban, instead of moving forward, are going backwards. They behave as during their first government, they are the same as 20 years ago”, added this woman, asking that her name not be disclosed.
The Taliban imposed the use of the burqa during their first regime, between 1996 and 2001, during which they carried out a strong repression against the rights of women, in accordance with their rigorous interpretation of the “sharia”, the Islamic law.
At that time, agents of the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue they flogged women who were caught not wearing a burqa, a dress that has continued to be worn for many years in more traditional and rural Afghan regions.
“We are in a broken nation, which is attacked in a way that we cannot understand. As a people, we are finished.” tweeted Muska Dastageer, a former professor at the American University of Afghanistan, now residing abroad.
A professor at a former university in Afghanistan, who used a pseudonym, said, “I am a practicing Muslim and I value what Islam has taught me. If, as Muslim men, they have a problem with my hijab, then they should wear their own hijab and look down,” she said.
“Why should we be treated like third-class citizens because they can’t practice Islam and control their sexual desires?asked the teacher, anger evident in her voice. As a single woman taking care of her mother, Marzia does not have a mahram. She is the sole breadwinner for her small family.
“I am not married, my father died a long time ago and I take care of my mother,” she said.
“The Taliban killed my brother, my only mahram, in an attack 18 years ago. Would you borrow a mahram from me now so that I will be punished next time?” she asked. The Taliban have repeatedly detained Marzia while she was traveling alone to work at her university, in violation of a previous edict prohibiting women from traveling alone.
“They regularly stop the taxi I’m in and ask me where my mahram is,” Marzia said. “When I try to explain that I don’t have one, they don’t listen to me. It doesn’t matter that she is a respected teacher; they do not show dignity and order taxi drivers to abandon me on the routes”, said.
“I have had to walk several kilometers to home or my classes on more than one occasion.” Marzia’s sentiments were echoed by women’s rights activists in Afghanistan and abroad.
the activist Huda Khamosh led the women-led demonstrations in Kabul that took place after the Taliban’s seizure of power last summer. She evaded arrest during a Taliban crackdown on female protesters in February.. Khamosh later confronted Taliban leaders at a conference in Norway, demanding that they release her fellow protesters in Kabul.
“The Taliban regime was imposed on us, and their self-imposed rules have no legal basis and send the wrong message to young women of this generation in Afghanistan, reducing their identity to their clothes,” said Khamosh, who urged Afghan women to speak up.
“Never be silent,” he said. “The rights granted to a woman [en el Islam] they are more than the right to choose a husband and get married,” Khamosh said, referring to a Taliban rights decree that focused only on the right to marry, but it did not address issues of women’s work and education.
“Women have dignity and agency over their lives,” she said.
“Twenty years [de avances logrados por las mujeres afganas] it is not insignificant progress that is lost overnight. We won this with our own strength, fighting against the patriarchal society, and no one can take us out of the community.” Activists also said they had predicted current developments in Afghanistan and equally blamed the international community for failing to recognize the urgency of the situation.
Samira Hamidi, an Afghan activist and senior researcher at Amnesty International, said that even after the Taliban seized power last August, Afghan women continued to insist that the international community uphold women’s rights as “a non-negotiable component of its engagement and negotiations with the Taliban”.But the international community has once again failed Afghan women, Hamidi said.
“I gave hope to so many girls and all of that has been thrown away as meaningless,” said. “My heart breaks to pieces with every new ‘law’ and decrees they issue that contradict our Islamic and Afghan values.”
Having returned to power in mid-August, at the end of two decades of military presence by the United States and its allies in the country, the Taliban promised to establish a more tolerant and flexible regime. But they were quickly cracking down on women.
In March, After months of promising to give girls education, the Taliban ordered the closure of girls’ secondary schools, just hours after opening their doors.
An unexpected change of attitude that they justified by arguing that the education of girls should be done by complying with the “sharia”. The Taliban also enforced separation between men and women in Kabul’s public parks, with visiting days attributed to each sex.
Also in March, Islamists ordered airlines in Afghanistan to prevent women from taking flights unless accompanied by a male relative. After their arrival, the women wanted to preserve their rights by demonstrating in Kabul and other big cities. But their protests were violently suppressed and many Afghan women were even detained for weeks.
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