An official stated on Friday that the Taliban’s religious police had posted posters throughout Kabul demanding Afghan women to cover themselves, the latest in a series of growing restrictions.
The Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice plastered the billboard, which features an image of the face-covering burqa, on cafes and stores this week.
Since regaining control in August, the Taliban have tightened restrictions on freedoms, notably for women and girls.
The banner reads, “Muslim women must wear the hijab according to Sharia law,” referring to the practise of covering up. On Friday, a spokesman for the ministry, which is in charge of executing the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law, confirmed that the orders were issued by the Taliban.
“It doesn’t imply she’ll be punished or beaten if she doesn’t follow it; it’s only an encouragement for Muslim women to obey Sharia law,” Sadeq Akif Muhajir remarked.
Women in Kabul already wear headscarves, however some also dress modestly in western style.
The burqa, which was made required for women during the Taliban’s first administration in the 1990s, has remained popular outside of the capital.
“What they’re attempting to do is instil fear in people,” said a university student and women’s rights activist who did not want to be identified.
“I was terrified the first time I saw the posters; I was afraid (the Taliban) would start beating me up.” They want me to wear a burqa and pretend to be nothing, but I would never do such a thing.”
The Taliban have so far refrained from declaring national policy, despite their acute need for international recognition in order to reopen finance channels to the war-torn country.
Instead, they’ve issued men’s and women’s guidelines that varies from province to province.
“This is not a good situation.” “This will definitely instil dread,” claimed Shahagha Noori, the manager of a Kabul restaurant where the Taliban had posted the billboard.
“I believe that once the Taliban receive worldwide legitimacy, they will begin to enforce it.”