Taliban Bans Long Distance Travel for Women Without Male Guardian

By Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa

If you think life couldn't be any more difficult in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, think again. On December 26, 2021, the Taliban government announced that women can no longer travel farther than 45 miles (72km) without the companionship of a male relative.

Citing this new directive, Mohammad Sadiq Hakif Mahajer, a spokesperson for the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, told CNN that the new law was designed to prevent women from coming to any harm or "disturbance."

In regard to the regression of women’s rights, this was simply rubbing salt on an already present wound. The same ministry that made this new regulation, back in September of this year, repurposed the building for the Ministry of Women after ordering everyone in that building to leave and not come back.

There is speculation that the real reason why this law was established was a way to prevent more illegal immigration to Iran. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, stated in a press conference on the same day that "hundreds" of Afghans were fleeing the country to Iran on a daily basis.

Along with this directive, the Taliban's Ministry for Virtue and Prevention of Vice asked that drivers should refuse rides, of any distance, to women not wearing headscarves, as well as stop playing music in their cars.

Human Rights Watch, which has been keeping a list of Taliban policies violating women’s rights since the group took over the country in mid August, spoke out against the new measures. Associate Director, Heather Barr, stated that the new rules bring the country “further in the direction of making women prisoners”.

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