- According to the Taliban, Afghan women who wish to travel long distances by road should be provided with transportation only if accompanied by a male relative.
The directive, issued on Sunday, is the most recent restriction on women’s rights since the Islamist group took power in August. Most secondary schools for girls are still closed, and most women are barred from working.
Due to the campaign group Human Rights Watch, the new restriction pushes women further into the prison system. Heather Barr, the organization’s associate director of women’s rights, told AFP that the order “closes off opportunities for [women] to be able to move about freely” or “to flee if they are facing violence in the home.”
According to the Taliban’s Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice’s most recent directive, women who travel more than 45 miles (72 kilometers) should be accompanied by a close male family member.
The document instructs vehicle owners to refuse rides to women who are not wearing Islamic head or face coverings, but it does not specify which type of covering should be worn. The majority of Afghan women already wear headscarves.
It also prohibits the use of music in vehicles. “I felt terrible,” Fatima, a Kabul-based midwife, told the news in response to the directive. “I am unable to go out on my own. What should I do if I or my child or I became my husband is unavailable?”
“The Taliban took our happiness away from us,” she continued, “and I have lost both my independence and my happiness.”
Since assuming power following the withdrawal of US and allied forces, the Taliban has ordered that most female workers stay at home and that secondary schools are only open to boys and male teachers.
According to the Taliban, the restrictions are “temporary” and only ensure that all workplaces and learning environments are “safe” for women and girls. Women were barred from education and employment during their previous rule in the 1990s.
Last month, the group banned women from appearing in television dramas and ordered female journalists and presenters to wear headscarves on camera.
The country is in the grip of a severe humanitarian and economic crisis, exacerbated by the withdrawal of international aid since the group took power.
Source: BBC News
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