Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership has ordered all Afghan women to wear the all-covering burka in public, officials said.
The move evokes similar restrictions imposed on women during the Taliban’s previous hard-line rule between 1996 and 2001.
“We want our sisters to live with dignity and safety,” said Khalid Hanafi, acting minister for the Taliban’s ministry of vice and virtue.
The Taliban previously decided against reopening schools to girls above grade six (around 11 years old), reneging on an earlier promise and opting to appease their hard-line base at the expense of further alienating the international community.
That decision disrupted efforts by the Taliban to win recognition from potential international donors at a time when the country is mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis.
The international community has urged Taliban leaders to reopen schools.
Shir Mohammad, an official from the vice and virtue ministry, said: “For all dignified Afghan women wearing Hajib is necessary and the best Hajib is chadori (the head-to-toe burka) which is part of our tradition and is respectful.”
The decree added that if women have no important work to be done outside, it is better for them to stay at home.
“Islamic principles and Islamic ideology are more important to us than anything else,” Mr Hanafi said.
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