KABUL – A spokesperson from a prominent ministry within Afghanistan’s Taliban government has proclaimed that women lose their value if their faces are uncovered and seen by men in public spaces.
Mawlawi Mohammad Sadiq Akif, a spokesman for Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue, stated during an interview with The Associated Press that a woman’s uncovered face in public could lead to temptation of sin and women lose value if they don’t veil in public.
Akif emphasized that both his ministry and religious scholars in the nation concur on the necessity for women to maintain their faces veiled when outside their homes. “The sight of women without the hijab in certain areas, particularly in urban centers, is deeply concerning,” Akif stated. “Our scholars uphold the belief that women’s faces should remain concealed. It is not a matter of harm or damage to her face. A woman possesses inherent value, which diminishes when exposed to the gaze of men. Allah bestows respect upon females who observe the hijab, and therein lies their value.”
Akif reaffirmed the ministry’s commitment to its work, stating, “Our people have desired the implementation of Sharia law here. We are now actively carrying out the implementation of Sharia.” He underscored that the decrees enforced align with established Islamic rulings, with no recent additions. “The tenets of Sharia were set forth 1,400 years ago, and they endure to this day.”
Akif pointed out that under the current administration, men no longer engage in harassment or intrusive staring at women, as observed during the prior government’s regime.
Regarding women’s access to public parks, a space from which they are currently banned, Akif conveyed that there might be possibilities for adjustment. “While women can visit parks, certain conditions must be met. If men are present, Sharia law prohibits it. We do not deny a woman’s capacity to engage in sports, visit parks, or engage in activities. However, such engagement should not align with the aspirations of some women who seek to be partially unclothed in the presence of men.”
Scholars familiar with Afghanistan and Islamic teachings have expressed reservations about their level of religious knowledge, given their isolation from the broader Muslim community. The Taliban’s policies, particularly those affecting girls and women, have garnered international condemnation, even from certain Muslim-majority countries. Gordon Brown, the U.N. special envoy, declared on Wednesday that the International Criminal Court should consider prosecuting Taliban leaders for crimes against humanity, citing the denial of education and employment opportunities to Afghan females.