In its latest decree, the Taliban government in Aghanistan has yet again attacked women and their freedom to choose what they wish to wear in public places.
It has now been made compulsory for women to cover themselves from head to toe using a "chadori," an all-covering burqa that also veils the face. The order issued on Saturday criminalises the violation of this dress code by women.
The Taliban's Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice said that it is "required for all respectable Afghan women to wear a hijab," or a headscarf, and added that the chadori is the "best hijab" of choice.
"If a woman is caught without a hijab, her mahram (a male guardian) will be warned. The second time, the guardian will be summoned [by Taliban officials], and after repeated summons, her guardian will be imprisoned for three days," added the statement. Akif Muhajir, a spokesman for the ministry, further stated that government employees who violate the hijab rule will be fired.
The new edict is the latest in the series of restrictions announced by the Taliban to further control and govern women's bodies. Women are being gradually confined to their homes and are being stripped of all rights.
The latest order even suggested that women should not step out of their houses unless necessary. After taking over Afghanistan last year in August, the Taliban had indicated that they would adopt a more flexible attitude towards women and their rights.
However, they have been gradually imposing more and more restrictions on Afghan women's daily lives. They have been barred from boarding a flight without a male relative, and women cannot undertake any long journey without a male relative or guardian.
Women are forbidden from taking inter-city road trips alone, and they can only visit public parks on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. They had also backtracked on the decision to open schools for girls beyond the 6th grade, according to a report in the BBC.
The Taliban had taken the same approach in the 1990s. If women violated any of the restrictions, they were subjected to flogging or in some cases were even stoned to death.
Afghanistan is already a deeply conservative patriarchal society; however, women had been able to make some progress during the last few years but the Taliban regime now wants to undo all that progress.
United Nations's Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also responded to the development and urged the group to "keep their promises to Afghan women and girls, and their obligations under international human rights law."
"I'm alarmed by today's announcement by the Taliban that women must cover their faces in public and leave home only in cases of necessity," read the tweet by Guterres.