‘I will not wear the burqa’: Some Afghan women defy Taliban edict

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Earlier this month, the Taliban issued a decree urging women to stay at home and ordering those who must go out to cover their faces with a burqa. But a few brave Afghan women have vowed to defy the restrictive order.

One day after the Taliban issued a decree on May 7 ordering women to completely cover their faces in public – preferably with burkas – a group of women took to the streets of Kabul to protest the edict.

One of the women in the protest, who for security reasons refused to be identified, said the Taliban did not allow them to continue the demonstration.

“They insult us. We can not even answer because they have weapons and their fingers are always on the trigger. They do not care that we are women, they do not value women. I defend not only my own rights, but the rights of all women in Afghanistan, “she said.

The decree from Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada also said that if women did not have any important work outside, it was “better for them to stay at home”, describing punishment for their male guardians if they did not follow the new dress code.

It was a major blow to women’s rights in Afghanistan, after two decades of relative freedom while US-led troops were stationed in the country.

“When you wear this, you can not even breathe. Even if they threaten to hang me, I will not carry the jar,” said another woman.

The decree was issued by the Ministry of the Promotion of Virtue and the Suppression of Cargo, a branch opened after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 following a chaotic US military withdrawal. On the outer walls of the ministry, a banner urges Afghan women to wear the proper Islamic veil.

“The proper Islamic dress covers from head to toe, including the face. This order does not come from the Islamic Emirate, but from Allah and the Qur’an. The implementation of the decree began the day we announced it. For now we explain things and act cautiously towards our sisters. , said Mohammad Akif Muhajir, spokesman for the ministry.

In some parts of Kabul, there are still women who do not cover their faces in public. But since the decree was issued, their number has decreased.

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