Afghan women angry as Taliban makes face covering mandatory
Recently, the Taliban’s leader Hibaitullah Akhunzada passed an order, mandating women to cover themselves from head to toe with just their eyes visible. It doesn’t end here, the Taliban leader, even advised that women should not leave their houses until it is necessary and even outlined punishments for male relatives of women who break the rule.
On Sunday (May 7), women in Kabul, the capital wore the traditional conservative Muslim attire. The majority wore the traditional hijab, which consists of headscarf and a long robe or coat, but a few wore a burqa, which covers their faces and hides the eyes behind netting as ordered by the Taliban a day before.
"Women in Afghanistan wear the hijab, and many wear the burqa, but this isn't about hijab, this is about the Taliban wanting to make all women disappear," said Shabana, who wore brilliant gold bangles beneath her long black coat and her hair buried behind a black head scarf with sequins. She further said that the Taliban is making an attempt to make women invisible.
"Afghan women still protesting against Taliban violations of their rights, even after the Taliban has beaten, pepper-sprayed, abducted, detained and abused women protesters," said Heather Barr, associate director of women's rights.
Hoda Khamosh, a women's rights activist, stated that Afghan women are no longer retreating and are confronting all difficulties.
"..this is the world that has closed its eyes to the crimes, the result of all these worries and all these meetings must be determined," Khamosh tweeted.
The Taliban rulers are driving Afghans to leave their country. Why should I stay here if they don't want to give us our human rights? We are human," said Arooza, a teacher. Several women stopped to talk. They all challenged the latest edict.
Akhunzada, prefers the harsh parts of the group’s earlier rule during the 1990s, when the females were generally excluded from school, work and public life.
In the meantime, the government is grappling with an economic crisis. The group is trying to get Western recognition but have mostly failed, owing to the Taliban’s failure to build a representative administrative and restrictions on women’s right. However, the movement’s hardliners and pragmatists have avoided direct confrontation.
On the eve of the starting of new sessions in school, divides between males and females were exacerbated when the Taliban made a last-minute decision that girls won’t be allowed to attend school after sixth grade.
This decision is a major setback for Afghan women who relatively enjoyed independence for two decades prior to the Taliban’s takeover last August, when US and other foreign forces departed ending a 20-year conflict.