Afghanistan’s Taliban government ordered women on Saturday to cover their faces in public, a return to a signature policy of their past rule.
A decree from the group’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, said that if a woman did not cover her face outside home, her father or closest male relative would be visited and face potential prison or firing from state jobs.
“We call on the world to co-operate with the Islamic Emirate and people of Afghanistan … Don’t bother us. Don’t bring more pressure, because history is witness, Afghans won’t be affected by pressure,” Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, told a news conference.
The ideal face covering was the all-encompassing blue burqa, which was obligatory for women in public during the Taliban’s previous 1996-2001 rule, the group said.
Most women in Afghanistan wear a headscarf for religious reasons but many in urban areas such as Kabul do not cover their faces.