Source: Daily Mail
Afghanistan’s supreme leader and Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada issued the decree today at a function in Kabul.
‘They should wear a chadori (head-to-toe burqa) as it is traditional and respectful,’ it said.
The news is likely to come as a crushing blow to many the 20 million women in the country that had enjoyed relative freedom and equality under the previous US-backed administration.
Women’s rights in Afghanistan have been rolled back since the Taliban retook control of the country in September last year, initially promising to respect the fundamental rights of women.
The Taliban was deposed by US actions after the 911 terrorist attacks and were forced to lurk in the rural heartlands of Afghanistan for two decades while they waited the Americans out.
Under Taliban rule women suffered from a severe lack of basic rights, including being prohibited from leaving the house without a male relative, from working or receiving an education after the age of eight.
Women were not allowed to receive medical treatment from a male doctor, and given the tiny number of female doctors in the country, it effectively shut them out of receiving medical care.
Public punishments for violators were regularly carried out, including chopping off the tip of the thumb of a woman who wore nail varnish.
Imprisonment and stoning were also common punishments as well as various forms of execution.
However there was optimism that a new and moderate Taliban would permit women to receive and education and work.
Yet in the nine months since they retook the country, the Taliban have gradually reneged on these promises, despite make a decree that ‘women aren’t property’ in December.
In March 2022 the Taliban abruptly reversed plans to allow girls to go to secondary school and high education, meaning primary school education is the maximum a girl can attain once the current cohort graduates.
Despite not initially reimposing the unimaginably draconian rules the previous Taliban government of the 1990s, the rights that women do have are being whittled away.
Of new restrictions put in place since last September, women are not allowed to travel more than 45 miles without a male relative; they are forbidden from appearing in movies and TV shows; and they are not permitted to work with men nor work in government.
In spite of the apparent harshness of these new rules, they are not universally opposed by the Afghan population of 40 million people, 70 per cent of which lives in the rural hinterlands.
Only 15 per cent of Afghan men believe women should be allowed to work after marriage and two-thirds complained that Afghan women had ‘too many rights,’ according to a 2019 study conducted by UN Women and Promundo, as summarised by Reuters.
Afghan society is highly patriarchal and the concept of ‘honour’ is deeply embedded within it, DW report. The sense of community and understanding within the community are of paramount importance for families and individuals.
Ethnic tribes and communities often also have their own formal ‘rulings’ regarding perceived crimes and misdemeanours. They overrule government laws — like those against honour killings — and implement their own punishment