The Afghan Taliban have issued a new decree for women to travel with a male guardian if they are traveling for more than 72km.
The new order was released on Sunday by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The ministry called on transporters and vehicle owners to refuse rides to women also not wearing headscarves and not accompanied by a male guardian.
“Women traveling for more than 72km (45 miles) should not be offered a ride if they are not accompanied by a close family member,” ministry spokesman Sadeq Akif Muhajir said, specifying that the companion must be male.
The new guidance further guides people to stop playing music in their cars. The new guidelines have attracted condemnation from human rights activists on social media.
The latest guidelines are the new addition to the list of restrictions set on women by the Taliban on Afghan women.
Weeks ago, the ministry had asked Afghanistan’s television channels to stop showing dramas and soap operas featuring female actors. It also called upon female journalists to don hijab while appearing on news channels.
While the country’s new rulers have not issued a formal policy outright banning women from working, directives by individual officials have amounted to their exclusion from the workplace. Many Afghan women fear they will never find meaningful employment.
Taliban’s softer version of 1990s regime
After pledging a softer version of their brutal and repressive regime of the 1990s, the Islamic fundamentalists are tightening their control of women’s freedoms.
However, The Taliban-led interim government in Afghanistan had banned forced marriages of women in a significant development aimed at empowering Afghan women.
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) December 26, 2021
This sounds too familiar! This (Taliban) barbaric group would never change.
1st, Afghan women can’t go to school, & now they can’t travel without a male relative.
— Rukhsar Azamee (@RukhsarAzamee) December 26, 2021
“Adult women’s consent is necessary during Nikah/marriage,” Taliban supreme commander Hibatullah Akhunzada said in a special decree, asserting genders “should be equal. No one can force women to marry by coercion or pressure,” he said.
The decree said a woman was not property, “but a noble and free human being; no one can give her to anyone in exchange for a peace deal or to end animosity.” The Taliban leader said a widow also has the “right to heritage and fixed share in the property of her husband, children, father, and relatives.”
“No one can deprive a widow of her right,” according to the decree.