Taliban's Dress Code Tyranny: Afghan Women Face Arrest Over Hijab

For the first time since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US-led coalition forces in 2021, the Islamic fundamentalist group officially confirmed that they have arrested women in the country’s capital, Kabul, for wearing “bad hijab.

This development is the latest blow to Afghan girls and women, who are still reeling from bans on education, employment, access to public spaces, and other crackdowns against their rights. 

Abdul Ghafar Farooq, the spokesperson for the Taliban’s Vice and Virtue Ministry, announced on January 4th that some women in Kabul were apprehended for violating its strict dress code. However, he didn’t specify how many women were arrested or what constitutes “bad hijab,” adding that these women were arrested three days ago.

The Taliban issued a decree calling for women only to show their eyes and recommending that they wear the head-to-toe burqa, similar to the restrictions they imposed during their first stint in power from 1996 until the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001. 

Farooq also said the ministry heard complaints about women not wearing the proper hijab in Kabul as well as in other provinces across Afghanistan for two and a half years. He added that female police officers were sent to arrest the women after they failed to follow the advice made by ministry officials to abide by the dress code.

These are the few limited women who spread bad hijab in Islamic society,” Farooq said. “They violated Islamic values and rituals and encouraged society and other respected sisters to go for bad hijab.

The spokesperson also said the police would refer the matter to judicial authorities, or the women would be released on strict bail.

In every province, those who go without hijab will be arrested,” Farooq warned. 

The arrests came less than a week after the UN Security Council called for a special envoy to engage with the Taliban, especially on the issue of gender and human rights.

But the Taliban criticized the idea, saying that special envoys “complicated situations further via the imposition of external solutions.

On January 3rd, while expressing support for a special envoy for Afghanistan, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the United States remains concerned about the Taliban’s “repressive edicts against women and girls and its unwillingness to foster inclusive governance,” adding that their decisions made irreparable damage to Afghan society and further move the Taliban away from normalizing with the international community.

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