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Taliban arrest women in first dress code crackdown

AT News

KABUL – In an unprecedented move, the Taliban have arrested women in Kabul for not adhering to the prescribed dress code, particularly for wearing “bad hijab.” This marks the first instance of a crackdown on women’s attire since the Taliban regained power in 2021.

Taliban’s vice and virtue ministry spokesman, Abdul Ghafar Farooq, said the arrested women were taken into custody three days ago. While the exact number of arrests and the criteria for a “bad hijab” were not disclosed, Farooq mentioned that the ministry had been receiving complaints about improper hijab for nearly two-and-a-half years.

Initially, the ministry provided recommendations and advice to women regarding the dress code, but when ignored, female police officers were dispatched to effect arrests. Farooq justified the crackdown by stating that these women were influencing society negatively by violating Islamic values and encouraging others to adopt “bad hijab.”

The arrests add to the challenges faced by Afghan women, who are already grappling with restrictions on education, employment, and access to public spaces. The Taliban’s decree in May 2022, calling for women to show only their eyes and recommending the head-to-toe burqa, is reminiscent of the restrictions during their previous rule from 1996 to 2001.

As these developments unfold, the international community’s attention on the Taliban’s policies intensifies. Less than a week ago, the UN Security Council urged for a special envoy to engage with the Taliban on issues related to gender and human rights. The fate of the arrested women remains uncertain, with the possibility of referral to judicial authorities or release on strict bail looming over them. Farooq issued a stern warning, emphasizing that those without hijab would face arrest in every province.

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