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US ″extremely concerned″ with obligation to wear burqa in Afghanistan

The United States is “extremely concerned” by restrictions on women’s rights in Afghanistan, a State Department spokesman said after the Taliban today enacted an obligation for all women to wear a full veil in public.

“We are extremely concerned that the rights of women and girls and the progress made in this field over the last 20 years will be suppressed”, reacted the spokesperson, referring to the decision on the mandatory use of the burqa.

Washington and its allies are “deeply disturbed by recent measures taken by the Taliban against women and girls, whose restrictions include education and travel,” he added.

Afghanistan’s supreme leader today ordered Afghan women to wear burqas in public, imposing what is considered the most severe restriction on women’s freedom since the Taliban’s return to power.

“Must use the chadri [outro nome para a burca] because it is traditional and respectful”, says a decree signed by Hibatullah Akhundzada made public today and quoted by the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“Women who are neither too young nor too old must veil their face when they meet a man who is not a member of their family” in order to avoid provocation, according to the decree.

The document also adds that, if they do not have something to do abroad, it is “better for them to stay at home”.

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The imposition of the burqa had already been practiced during the first time that the Taliban were in power, between 1996 and 2001 and which was marked by the strong repression of women’s rights in accordance with their interpretation of ‘sharia’.

After returning to power in August after a 20-year occupation by the United States of America and its allies, the Taliban promised they would be more flexible.

However, they reneged on their promises, gradually reversing rights and taking away 20 years of freedom for women.

Women are now largely excluded from government jobs and banned from traveling alone.

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