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Afghanistan Women Banned From Travelling Without Being Escorted By Male Relative

The Taliban on Sunday announced that Afghanistan women who want to travel beyond short distances should not be offered transport unless they are accompanied by a close male relative.

Vehicle owners are to only offer rides to those women wearing Islamic hijabs, guidance issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stated.

The ministry spokesman Sadeq Akif Muhajir specified while speaking with AFP on Sunday that it must be a close male relative, “Women travelling for more than 45 miles (72 kilometres) should not be offered a ride if they are not accompanied by a close family member.”

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The new order comes weeks after the ministry asked Afghanistan’s television channels to stop showing dramas and soap operas featuring women actors.

The ministry had also called on women TV journalists to wear hijabs while presenting.

The minister added that the hijab would also be required for women seeking transport. The ministry’s directive also asked people to stop playing music in their vehicles.

However, the Taliban’s interpretation of the hijab is unclear, as a majority of Afghan women already wear headscarves.

Since taking power in August, the Taliban have imposed various restrictions on women and girls, despite pledging a softer rule compared with their first rule in the 1990s.

In several provinces, local Taliban authorities have been persuaded to reopen schools — but many girls remain cut off from secondary education.

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Early this month, the Islamist group issued a decree in the name of their supreme leader instructing the government to enforce women’s rights.

The decree did not mention girls’ access to education.

Activists hope that the Taliban’s battle to gain international recognition and get aid flowing back into one of the poorest countries in the world will lead to them making concessions to women.

 

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