Sunday, 12 September 2021
Taliban parade women in hooded veils that appear to block eyesight

From the Telegraph

The Taliban have paraded women in black robes with hoods that cover their faces and appear to block their vision, a radical dress-code that has raised concern about their plans for female education. 

Several dozen women wearing black robes, some with hoods over their faces and gloves covering their hands, were gathered in a lecture theater to hear speakers decry the West and back Taliban education policies at Kabul university on Saturday.

"In western societies we have seen how much they believe in their values and how they defend their values. They can’t even tolerate the hijab of Muslim women," one speaker said.  She added that women who have recently protested against Taliban rule are "not true representations of Afghan women, and they are not representing us. They pursue their personal interests by falsely claiming to represent Afghan women."

The outfits worn at the meeting on Saturday drew comment because of the use of a hood covering the eyes, something unheard of in Afghanistan rarely seen even in the most extreme religious settings elsewhere.

Abdul Baqi Haqqani, the Taliban’s higher education minister said on Sunday that he intended to keep universities open to women as long as they wore “hijab”, but did not specify whether that meant a headscarf or face covering. He also confirmed the Taliban would enforce a complete ban on mixed-sex teaching.

"We have no problems in ending the mixed-education system... The people are Muslims and they will accept it," said on Sunday.

Columns of similarly dressed women chanting pro-Taliban slogans were seen marching in Kabul and Kandahar over the weekend, in an apparent attempt by the Taliban to counter a series of female-led opposition protests. 

One female activist who asked to remain anonymous because she is still in Kabul told the Telegraph that the promises were a "lie" and that students had been forced to stay at home because universities do not know how to implement the new rule.

Natiq Malikzada, a local journalist, said one of the women involved had told him the Taliban summoned students to the hall and “pressured” them to wear black robes. “They told us that if you do not attend, you will be expelled from university and you will never go to university anywhere," Mr Malikzada said the woman said.

Photographs of the meeting drew a backlash on social media, with Afghan women posting pictures of themselves in traditional Afghan dress under the hashtag "DoNotTouchMyClothes." "This is Afghan culture. I am wearing a traditional Afghan dress," Bahar Jalai, an academic, posted with a picture of herself in a green dress.  

Posted on 09/12/2021 12:31 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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