Now, Taliban Is Tightening Grip On Freedom Of Unmarried Afghan Women

A new UN report stated that the Taliban is now restricting single women and women unaccompanied by males from accessing public spaces and healthcare. Recently they also started arresting women for wearing "bad" hijabs.

Tanya Savkoor
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taliban arrest women for not wearing hijab

Image: Associated Press

The Taliban is now restricting Afghan women who are unmarried or unaccompanied by a mahram (male guardian) from accessing travel, public places, and healthcare, a new report by the United Nations stated. The report published on January 22 revealed that the Vice and Virtue Ministry closely inspects public places to ensure women are accompanied by a mahram. They advised women to get married if they wanted to travel and keep their jobs at healthcare facilities, calling it "inappropriate" for unmarried women to work.


The UN reported that three healthcare workers were detained last October for going to work without a mahram. They were later released after their families wrote written guarantees that they would not repeat the act. 

The country is already going through several healthcare crises due to a shortage of facilities, restrictions on women's higher education, and a shortage of female doctors. Afghanistan has not produced a single female doctor in over a year, an earlier report stated. 

Afghanistan Women Arrested For Violating Dress Code

In early January, several women in Kabul had been arrested by the Taliban for allegedly wearing "bad hijabs", Abdul Ghafar Farooq. the spokesman at the Afghanistan Vice and Virtue Ministry told the Associated Press. The number of women arrested has not been disclosed, nor has the definition of "bad hijab". The dress code rules stated that women were only allowed to show their eyes in the head-to-toe burqa. 

He reportedly said that the said the ministry has heard complaints about women wearing the hijab incorrectly in Kabul and other provinces for almost two-and-a-half years. Ministry officials allegedly advised women to follow the dress code after which female police officers were sent to arrest those who still failed to do so, he added.

“These are the few limited women who spread bad hijab in Islamic society,” Farooq said, adding “They violated Islamic values ​​and rituals, and encouraged society and other respected sisters to go for bad hijab.” He has added that the women will be released on strict bail soon after the judicial authorities intervene. “In every province, those who go without hijab will be arrested,” Farooq warned.

The Taliban had previously imposed similar rules from 1996 to 2001, similar to dress code laws in the neighbouring country IranSince they came back to power in 2021, the country has been seeing several challenges, especially in the freedom of women. The restrictions on single women and dressing add to the country's ongoing battles like prohibition on women's education, access to public spaces, and travelling.

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