Fatima, a government midwife, writes down as she attends to patients in the government hospital in Panjawai district, Kandahar, Afghanistan, 06 April 2023 (issued 07 April 2023). EFE-EPA FILE/STRINGER

Wear burqa or lose your jobs, Taliban tell women employees

Kabul, Aug 10 (EFE).- In a new directive targeting Afghan women, the Taliban warned on Thursday that female government employees would lose their jobs if they don’t wear burqas – full-body coverings – in offices.

The Ministry of Vice and Virtue said that it had convened a meeting with representatives from other ministries to discuss the implementation of the Taliban’s previous order requiring women to cover their faces and wear veils in public.

A ministry statement said women working in government departments must wear veils, or else they “will be fired.”

“Women visitors who do not wear veil should not be allowed to visit (government) offices,” the statement said.

The ministry further stated that Taliban government employees were required to present themselves “in accordance with Islamic Sharia,” and therefore women were also instructed to work in gender-based segregated spaces.

Nahid Noori, a women’s rights activist, remarked that Afghan female employees typically wear veils in their workplaces and other public areas.

“The Taliban are promoting their own style of the veil,” Noori told EFE.

Since the Islamists seized power in Kabul in August 2021, the Taliban have curtailed women’s freedoms and restricted their basic rights, such as education and employment.

Over the past two years, the Taliban have been reintroducing the oppressive norms from their previous regime (1996-2001), based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law that stripped women of numerous fundamental rights.

In December last year, the hardliners prohibited women from enrolling in universities and working for non-governmental organizations, adding to the longstanding ban on girls’ secondary education, which had been in place since the group’s return to power. EFE