Taliban toughen regime, curtail women’s rights

Une new ban which teases the international community a little and worries about the future and the security of women in Afghanistan. The Taliban have taken new measures restricting the freedom of Afghan women. On Sunday, they announced that women wishing to travel long distances must be accompanied by a male relative, a further sign of the toughening of the regime despite their initial promises.

The recommendation, published by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice and which circulated on social networks, also calls on drivers to accept women in their vehicle only if they wear the « Islamic veil. « .

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« Women traveling more than 45 miles (72 kilometers) cannot make the trip if they are not accompanied by a close family member, » ministry spokesman Sadeq told Agence France-Presse. Akif Muhajir, specifying that the accompanying person had to be a man.

Women journalists forced to wear « the Islamic veil »

This directive comes a few weeks after the ministry’s request to Afghan televisions to stop broadcasting « soap operas and series in which women » play, and to ensure that women journalists wear « the Islamic veil » on the screen. The Taliban do not specify what they mean by « Islamic veil », whether it is a simple headscarf, already worn by the majority of Afghan women, or a more covering veil.

Since coming to power in August, they have imposed various restrictions on women and girls, despite initial promises that their regime would be less strict than during their first reign (1996-2001). In several provinces, local authorities have agreed to reopen schools for girls, although many of them across the country still cannot attend.

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Earlier in December, a decree on behalf of the supreme leader of the movement called on the government to enforce women’s rights, but the decree did not mention the right to education. Activists hope that the Taliban’s efforts to gain recognition by the international community and once again receive much-needed aid to the country – among the poorest in the world – will lead them to make concessions.

During their first reign, the Taliban made it compulsory for women to wear the burqa. They could only leave their homes accompanied by a man and were not allowed to work and study.

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