Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders order women to wear burka in public

Afghan women wearing traditional full body covering called the burka (Alamy)
Afghan women wearing traditional full body covering called the burka (Alamy)

Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership has ordered all Afghan women to wear the all-covering burka in public, officials said.

The move evokes similar restrictions imposed on women during the Taliban’s previous hard-line rule between 1996 and 2001.

“We want our sisters to live with dignity and safety,” said Khalid Hanafi, acting minister for the Taliban’s ministry of vice and virtue.

The Taliban previously decided against reopening schools to girls above grade six (around 11 years old), reneging on an earlier promise and opting to appease their hard-line base at the expense of further alienating the international community.

A woman in Kabul
A woman in a burka in Kabul (AP)

That decision disrupted efforts by the Taliban to win recognition from potential international donors at a time when the country is mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis.

The international community has urged Taliban leaders to reopen schools.

Shir Mohammad, an official from the vice and virtue ministry, said: “For all dignified Afghan women wearing Hajib is necessary and the best Hajib is chadori (the head-to-toe burka) which is part of our tradition and is respectful.

“Those women who are not too old or young must cover their face, except the eyes.”

The decree added that if women have no important work to be done outside, it is better for them to stay at home.

Woman in the street in Afghanistan
A Taliban fighter stands guard as a woman walks through a market (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

“Islamic principles and Islamic ideology are more important to us than anything else,” Mr Hanafi said.

Heather Barr , senior Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch, urged the international community to put co-ordinated pressure on the Taliban.

“(It is) far past time for a serious and strategic response to the Taliban’s escalating assault on women’s rights,” she wrote on Twitter.

The Taliban were ousted in 2001 by a US-led coalition for harbouring al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, but returned to power after America’s chaotic departure last year.

Since taking power last August, the Taliban leadership has squabbled internally as it struggles to transition from a war footing to government. This unrest has pitted hard-liners against the more pragmatic among them.

Infuriating many Afghans is the knowledge that many of the Taliban of the younger generation, like Sirajuddin Haqqani, are educating their girls in Pakistan, while in Afghanistan women and girls have been targeted by their repressive edicts since taking power.

Universities opened earlier this year in much of the country, but since taking power the Taliban edicts have been erratic.

While a handful of provinces continued to provide education for all, most provinces closed educational institutions for girls and women.

The religiously-driven Taliban administration fears that going forward with enrolling girls beyond the the sixth grade could alienate their rural base.

In the capital of Kabul, private schools and universities have operated uninterrupted.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]