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Taliban orders new restrictions for Afghan women

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s Minister of Higher Education Abdul Baqi Haqqani has said the officials were discussing design an Islamic atmosphere where women may get education, Afghan and international media reports. “The Islamic Emirate is not against women’s education, but it is against co-education,” he told journalists in the Afghan capital.

“We are trying to design an Islamic atmosphere where women may educate… it may take a bit of time,” he stated, without clarifying on when ladies will be allowed to return to school and university classes across the country.

“God willing, we will enable women to work and study in line with shariah law, as women are an essential aspect in society,” he continued.

On September 10 this year, the Taliban had issued a so-called “declaration on women’s rights” that did not mention right to schooling or work, prompting outrage from Afghan women and experts who said it demonstrated the militant group’s lack of interest in maintaining basic freedoms for millions of Afghan women who have been largely restricted to their homes in recent months.

When Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar arrived in Kabul recently to begin negotiations aimed at transferring the governance methods from use of force to effective civilian leadership, he had promised that the Taliban were “trying to construct an inclusive government that represents all the people of Afghanistan”.

“We want to live together in peace,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had declared at the first press conference in the capital after the Taliban took power on August 15. “We don’t want to have any internal or foreign rivals.”

Following the departure of the US and allied troops, the militant Islamist organisation gained control and ordered girls and young women to remain home.

They were ordered to wear the burqa, a full-body cloak that also covered their faces, and were not allowed to leave houses without a male companion. They were also barred from working and attending schools.

Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership has also set new laws prohibiting women from acting in television shows.

Female journalists and presenters are now required to wear headscarves when on camera, though the standards do not specify which sort of covering should be worn. Some of the guidelines, according to reporters, are ambiguous and open to interpretation. In mid-August, the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, and many believe that they are progressively imposing drastic restrictions.

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