Afghan women defiant, but feel ‘imprisoned’ by order to cover faces

Women in Afghanistan issued a statement on Sunday after the Taliban issued a directive ordering them to cover fully in public, including their face, or stay indoors, saying the change would effectively leave them ” in prison ”.

Afghanistan’s supreme leader and Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada approved the order on Saturday in a measure that threatens to push back freedoms towards the harsh rule imposed by Muslims when they previously held power between 1996- 2001.

It also goes against softer rule promises made to the international community after the Taliban came to power in August last year.

“I am being imprisoned. I cannot live in freedom and the whole of my social life is controlled by the Taliban, “said activist Tahmina Taham, a former government employee who lost his job after the Taliban returned to power last year, he told AFP.

“Forget that I was a woman, I was deprived of my freedoms even as a person.”

Akhundzada’s decree also stated that women working in government positions that did not follow the order should be “dismissed” and that employees who do not comply with their wives and daughters should also be suspended.

The UN mission in Afghanistan criticized the decree and said it could “heat up engagement” between Muslims and the international community, linking the resumption of aid to the Afghan economy and the Taliban government’s recognition of their potential. respect for women ‘s rights. .

There were no immediate signs that Akhundzada’s order was being followed in Kabul on Sunday, with many women appearing on the streets without covering their faces.

In the western city of Herat, considered liberal by Afghan standards, resident Fatima Rezaie said many women were now defiant and would not accept changes imposed by force.

“Women are not the same as they were 20 years ago,” Rezaie told AFP.

“(Today) they are firm and determined and ready to stand up for their rights.”

But in the southern city of Kandahar, the de facto Taliban power center where the reclusive Akhundzada is believed to live, women were seen wearing the burqa.

‘Weak point’

In the 20 years between the two periods of Taliban power, girls were allowed to go to school and women were able to seek employment in all sectors, although significant social barriers still hampered freedoms.

But since their return, the Taliban have severely restricted women’s rights that prevent them from many government jobs, secondary education and also from traveling alone outside their cities.

Taham said the new order will have a “very negative impact on women’s personal and work lives,” adding that her sister had to drop out of her studies after her university refused to admit her to a mixed sex class.

Many have been insulted because of the withdrawal of the hard-fought liberties.

“Where (in Islam) is it said that women’s hands and faces should be covered?” said Azita Habibi, a midwife at a hospital in Herat.

But Akhundzada’s decree left many women worried about the safety of their male guardians.

“I even decided to wear a full coverage hijab because I do not want the men in my family to be punished or dishonest,” said Laila Sahar, a former NGO worker who gave a pseudonym to protect her identity.

“Her family, her children, her partner is a weak point of a woman. The Taliban cleverly used this weakness to force her to wear a hijab, “well-known activist Hoda Khamosh told AFP.

“But no woman will stay at home or stop working.”

Afghan women defiant, but feel ‘imprisoned’ by order to cover faces Source link Afghan women defiant, but feel ‘imprisoned’ by order to cover faces

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