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Women will be expected to wear the hijab but not the burqa, says Taliban spokesman

Taliban leaders had asserted that they would respect the rights of women in the country within the framework of Islamic law.

A woman sits in front of her computer at an Internet cafe in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP File)

Women will be expected to wear the hijab but not the burqa, a Taliban spokesman said on Tuesday amid fears that women would be repressed under them. Last time when they were in power in Afghanistan, the Taliban had placed severe restrictions on women’s rights, including making full burqa compulsory.

“The burqa is not the only hijab (headscarf) that (can) be observed, there is different types of hijab not limited to burqa,” Suhail Shaheen told Britain’s Sky News.

The burqa is a full-body veil that is worn over other garments, with a mesh screen over the eyes. Shaheen, however, did not specify what other types of headscarves would be acceptable.

Meanwhile, in video shared by CNN, Kabul reporter Clarissa Ward interviewed a Taliban commander Assad Massoud Khistani about the attire that women are expected to wear. Women, he said, can continue their education, but with Islamic hijab. When pressed, however, the commander said that women would have to cover their face as well because “it is in Islam.”

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Earlier, Taliban leaders had said they would respect the rights of women in the country within the framework of Islamic law.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s main spokesman, said women would be allowed to work and study and “will be very active in society but within the framework of Islam”.

During their rule in 1996-2001, guided by sharia religious law, the Taliban had stopped women from working. Girls were not allowed to go to school and women had to wear all-enveloping burqas to go out and then only when accompanied by a male relative.

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However, within Afghanistan, women expressed scepticism. Afghan girls’ education activist Pashtana Durrani, 23, was wary of Taliban promises. “They have to walk the talk. Right now they are not doing that,” she told Reuters.

First published on: 18-08-2021 at 01:53:27 pm
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