The Taliban has issued yet another decree imposing further restrictions on Afghan women, and criminalising their clothing.
While the Taliban have always imposed restrictions to govern the bodies of Afghan women, the decree is the first for this regime where criminal punishment is assigned for violation of the dress code for women.
The Taliban’s recently reinstated Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice announced on Saturday that it is “required for all respectable Afghan women to wear a hijab”, or headscarf.
The ministry, in a statement, identified the chadori (the blue-coloured Afghan burqa or full-body veil) as the “best hijab” of choice.
Also acceptable as a hijab, the statement declared, is a long black veil covering a woman from head to toe.
The ministry statement provided a description: “Any garment covering the body of a woman is considered a hijab, provided that it is not too tight to represent the body parts nor is it thin enough to reveal the body.”
Punishment was also detailed: Male guardians of offending women will receive a warning, and for repeated offences they will be imprisoned.
“If a woman is caught without a hijab, her mahram (a male guardian) will be warned. The second time, the guardian will be summoned [by Taliban officials], and after repeated summons, her guardian will be imprisoned for three days,” according to the statement.
Akif Muhajir, a spokesman for the ministry, said that government employees who violate the hijab rule will be fired.
And male guardians found guilty of repeated offences “will be sent to the court for further punishment”, he said.