Home » News » The Taliban Strain Ladies in Afghanistan to Cowl Up

The Taliban Strain Ladies in Afghanistan to Cowl Up


KABUL, Afghanistan — Her mom begged her to not go to the protest, at the same time as Maryam Hassanzada was on her approach out the door.

However Ms. Hassanzada, 24, reassured her mom, then joined a dozen different ladies protesting a Taliban decree this month requiring Afghan ladies to cowl themselves from head to toe.

Their faces uncovered, the ladies chanted “Justice! Justice!” and “Cease tyranny in opposition to ladies!” They protested for about 10 minutes earlier than Taliban gunmen roughly broke up the demonstration. The protesters mentioned they had been held by Taliban safety officers for 2 hours, questioned and berated, then launched with a warning to not protest once more.

Ms. Hassanzada was unbowed.

“If we don’t protest, the world gained’t know the way badly Afghan ladies are oppressed,” she mentioned later.

These are perilous occasions for Afghan ladies. The Taliban present no signal of easing a crackdown not solely on such primary rights as training and jobs for ladies, however on each side of public life, from deportment to journey.

The duvet-up decree, which additionally urged ladies to remain house until they’d a compelling motive to exit, adopted a earlier rule requiring ladies who journey greater than about 45 miles from their houses to be accompanied by a male family member.

In August, the Taliban promised much less restrictive insurance policies towards ladies than throughout their earlier rule within the late Nineteen Nineties. “There will probably be no violence in opposition to ladies, no prejudice in opposition to ladies,” the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid advised reporters.

As a substitute, in a matter of months, the Taliban have imposed onerous decrees which have dragged ladies from the relative freedoms achieved over the previous twenty years to a harsh interpretation of Islamic regulation that smothers ladies’s rights.

On the streets of the capital, compliance with the decree is blended.

Within the Dasht-e-Barchi district, house to Hazaras, a predominantly Shiite Muslim minority, only a few ladies cowl their faces — apart from surgical masks for Covid-19. However in close by Karte Naw, an ethnic Pashtun space, a part of the Sunni majority, most girls put on hijabs, or head scarves, that cowl their faces.

Some ladies in Kabul mentioned that males on the road had harassed and berated them after they appeared in public with their faces uncovered.

Exterior the capital, most girls appear to be obeying the decree. Throughout the nation, ladies say that Taliban enforcers have accosted them, typically violently, and ordered them to cowl up.

Within the northern province of Takhar, Farahnaz, a college scholar, mentioned the non secular police had arrange checkpoints to examine rickshaws carrying ladies to class. Those that weren’t lined in all-black hijabs had been roughed up and despatched house, she mentioned.

“I had a coloured head scarf however they despatched me again house and mentioned I needed to put on a black hijab and niqab,” she mentioned, referring to a garment that covers the hair and face apart from the eyes. She requested to be recognized by solely her first title for worry of retribution.

Anisa Mohammadi, 28, a lawyer in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, mentioned she had purchased a burqa as a result of she feared that her honor could be questioned if she didn’t put on it. She mentioned the non secular police there have been intently monitoring ladies and ordering them to cowl up.

In Baghlan Province, additionally in northern Afghanistan, Maryam, 25, a ladies’s rights activist who has refused to cowl her face, mentioned {that a} pal had been warned that she could be flogged if she continued to put on solely a head scarf.

“I’m scared,” mentioned Maryam, who requested that her final title not be revealed. “The Taliban advised me that I’d higher not come to town once more if my face isn’t lined.”

In Kabul, a 24-year-old college scholar who wore a head scarf however no face protecting to a well-liked recreation space mentioned that she had been struck on the top by a rifle butt wielded by a passing Taliban gunman who shouted at her to cowl her face.

Taliban gunmen have pointed weapons at feminine protesters, sprayed them with pepper spray and referred to as them “whores” and “puppets of the West,” Human Rights Watch has mentioned.

Native information media reported that some feminine college students at Kabul College had been despatched house by Taliban enforcers for not complying with the hijab decree. And Human Rights Watch reported that the Taliban non secular police tried to compel Afghan ladies working for the United Nations mission in Kabul to cowl up.

Muhammad Sadiq Akif, spokesman for the Advantage and Vice Ministry in Kabul, denied that any ladies had been accosted or punished. He mentioned that ministry patrols had not compelled ladies to cowl themselves however had merely defined the decree to encourage full compliance.

And he denied that girls had been compelled to put on black hijabs, saying that they may put on hijabs of any shade.

“Out of respect for the sisters of our nation, we don’t cease, summon or punish any ladies,” he mentioned in an interview on the ministry, which has changed the earlier authorities’s Ministry for Ladies’s Affairs.

“The hijab is the command of God and should be noticed,” Mr. Akif mentioned, including that the regulation for ladies was “for their very own safety.”

The decree, ordered by the Taliban’s supreme chief, Haibatullah Akhundzada, mandated a sequence of escalating punishments, together with jail time, for male family of ladies who repeatedly refused to cowl themselves. Mr. Akif mentioned that some males had been formally warned, however not punished.

That stress was denounced by some ladies. “My father and brothers shouldn’t have an issue with me,” mentioned Mozhda, 25, a ladies’s rights activist in Mazar-i-Sharif who has refused to cowl her face and requested to be recognized by solely her first title for worry of retribution.

Till the takeover final summer season, the Taliban had been out of energy for 20 years, and many ladies, particularly in cities, turned accustomed to the extra relaxed mores.

“Ladies now will not be like the ladies of 20 years in the past, and the Taliban ought to perceive that,” mentioned Fatima Farahi, 55, a ladies’s rights activist in Herat, in western Afghanistan.

Ms. Farahi mentioned that she and plenty of different ladies in Herat had refused to cowl their faces. Up to now, she mentioned, she and her colleagues had not been threatened by the Taliban.

In Kabul, the protesters, who name themselves the Afghanistan Highly effective Ladies’s Motion, vowed to proceed to protest and to make use of social media to induce ladies to defy the decree.

When Taliban gunmen ordered them to cease a current rally, a protest chief, Munisa Mubariz, shouted: “You can’t cease our voices!”

The ladies mentioned they had been warned that they might be jailed for 5 days in the event that they protested once more.

5 Western journalists and two Afghan reporters who had been reporting on the demonstration had been additionally held and questioned for 2 hours, individually from the ladies, and later launched unhurt.

Mr. Akif of the Advantage and Vice Ministry mentioned that the ladies who protested had made a mistake, and “got the correct understanding” of the decree by Taliban officers.

“It’s not permissible to face or protest in opposition to any form of Islamic ruling and it’s thought-about a criminal offense,” he mentioned. “In the event that they perceive and the correct approach is proven for them, they may by no means do these items. I’m certain they may comply.”

No approach, mentioned Zakia Zahadat, one of many protesters.

“I’ll be again — I gained’t cease protesting,” Ms. Zahadat, 24, mentioned. “We’re dealing with an financial disaster, a social disaster and a political disaster, however the Taliban solely care concerning the hijab? Does this imply if we put on a hijab all our issues will probably be solved?”

Jamila Barati, 25, one other protester, mentioned, “Ladies should battle for his or her rights, regardless of the dangers. I gained’t cease protesting.”

A number of ladies mentioned that their husbands or dad and mom had begged them to cease. The ladies mentioned that they’d obtained threatening telephone calls from Taliban safety officers. Some mentioned that they moved from home to deal with to keep away from detection.

Ms. Hassanzada mentioned that her mom had requested her to remain indoors always.

However, Ms. Hassanzada mentioned, she spent most of her time at house anyway because the Taliban fired her from her job at a authorities ministry. After she returned house safely the day of the latest protest, she mentioned, she repeated a promise she had made to her mom.

“I mentioned I’d by no means depart the home — besides to protest,” she mentioned.

Najim Abed Al-Jabouri contributed reporting from Houston, and Safiullah Padshah and Kiana Hayeri from Kabul.


Leave a Reply