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This weekend, the Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice ordered a decree that all women leaving their homes must wear a head-to-toe covering and be accompanied by a male guardian. The new rules state that women must cover their faces and ideally women will wear a traditional burqa. In many cities, women choose to wear a hijab to cover their hair—this is no longer acceptable modesty.

This new decree is the most recent example of systemic oppression of Afghan women and girls under Taliban rule. The decree further details restrictions and punishments that both women and their family members will face if women are seen in public uncovered. The latest restrictions are part of a larger effort to roll back decades of advancements for women in the country. When they seized power in August 2021, the Taliban claimed they would respect women and girls’ rights to a public life, but since then, they’ve taken away their right to travel unaccompanied, work outside of the healthcare space, and have an education.

This decision serves to further undermine Afghan women and girls’ rights and livelihoods. Afghan women and girls deserve agency and equality and the Taliban government must protect and preserve their rights. The Wilson Center stands on the side of Afghan women and girls.

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