While much attention has been paid this weekend to the Taliban’s decision that from now on Afghan women can only go out on the streets wearing a burqa, this was not the most draconian measure in Supreme Leader Hebatullah Akhundzada’s decree. In the same piece that was announced on Saturday at A Press Conference In the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, it was stated that women should not leave the house unless it is absolutely necessary.
Many Afghan women can live with the burqa, which leaves only the eyes free from the face, not even well; Gauze over the eye obscures vision. Going to work, school or the market wearing a burqa will make an active life somewhat possible. But the stay-at-home order – which, incidentally, has become less realistic than the burqa – brings many Afghan women back to the regime of the 1990s, when the Taliban forcibly imposed their extremist views of Islam on the population.
Since the beginning of the Taliban’s seizure of power in August last year, there has been great skepticism among Afghan women about the promise that they will have “more rights” than under the previous regime.
Step by step, the Taliban have since reneged on that promise. Soon after the recapture of Kabul, women were prohibited from working, except for health care and primary education. Later, an order was issued to travel alone with a male relative. In March, it turns out that high schools will be closed to girls from now on. And now it is better for a woman to remain completely at home.
If you have to go out anyway, you don’t necessarily have to wear a burqa, clearer A spokesperson for the ministry told the BBC. A variety of black chadors are also allowed, which are worn in some countries of the Middle East and leave the eyes more visible than the burqa. As long as the rest of the face is covered.
According to the decree, a person who does not obey is not expected to receive corporal punishment. If a home visit by the Taliban is unsuccessful, a male relative is expected to arrive at the ministry for a serious interview. In the end, this man was sentenced to three days in prison.
Not advice but an order
The Taliban initially offered the burqa light as advice, but the spokesperson made it clear that this was an understatement. This is not just advice, these are commands to be followed, it is an obligation by Islam. It is an order from the Qur’an and our Messenger.” According to him, the Islamic Emirate was acting only as a messenger.
No opposition was expected. Afghan women have their own place in the world. They feel safe and dignified in society when they wear the hijab [hier een eufemisme voor boerka, red.] Put on, wear.” The burqa is common in parts of the countryside, but in the cities especially, Afghan women used to wear only the hijab.
It is not known why the Taliban now chose these measures and what trade-offs regarding international recognition they seek. They prefer to maintain normal relations with other countries and the international donor community, on which Afghanistan is highly dependent. This society made the Taliban respect human rights, which clearly did not happen. according to United nations The new rules could “increase pressure on relations with the international community”.
Observers suspect a steering war between primitive conservative leaders like Akhundzada, who uses ancient tribal practices from his hometown of Kandahar as a guiding principle, and more pragmatic members who want to avoid complete isolation from Afghanistan.
International news agencies reported on Sunday that women in Kabul are still on the streets wearing headscarves. Some were unaware of the new rules, while others chose to ignore them. The Taliban ordered the deployment of the rules in schools and mosques.
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A version of this article also appeared in the May 9, 2022 newspaper
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