Afghanistan’s Taliban-led government ordered women to wear a burqa in public areas and government institutions, in a re-emergence of the head-to-toe covering less than a year after it took control of the country.
The legal guardians of women who refuse to comply with the order face penalties such as detentions and prosecutions, according to a Taliban decree on Saturday. Female civil servants will be sacked for failing to obey, it said.
The burqa should be worn because “it is a respected tradition in Afghanistan and the best type of Hijab,” according to the decree. Women can alternatively wear lose-fitting black veils, it said, adding the rules are intended to avoid the “seduction” of males.
The order could hurt the Taliban’s efforts to gain international recognition and legitimacy. Since taking over from a U.S.-supported administration eight months ago, the militant group’s edicts include banning secondary education for teenage girls, prohibiting women from traveling long distances without a male companion and instructing taxi drivers not to allow ladies to sit in the front seats.
The Taliban’s recent rules on women are similar to when they first ran the country in the 1990s, stripping women of human rights such as access to employment, education and social work.
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