Taliban minister defends decision on women’s hijab

In an address to a gathering in Badakhshan province, Khalid Hanafi, Taliban’s acting minister of vice and virtue, defended the decision to enforce hijab regulations for women in Afghanistan.

Hanafi asserted that this policy “will not violate women’s rights” and does not deprive them of their rights.

According to him, the majority of Afghans are supportive of the hijab requirement, and he emphasized the importance of implementing punitive measures within an Islamic framework.

Over the past two years, the Taliban has implemented a series of stringent restrictions on women, including barring them from attending universities, visiting amusement parks, and even accessing Band-e-Amir National Park in Bamiyan, among other measures. Additionally, girls have been prevented from attending secondary schools, and women have been prohibited from working in non-governmental organizations since last December.

Hanafi addressed criticism regarding the imposition of hijab, stating, “When Islamic law enforces the hijab, if they believe this is a violation of women’s rights and that they have been deprived of their rights, please tell me if this struggle in the name of human rights is appropriate or not. It is not appropriate. The Islamic system does not desire, and neither does our culture nor yours, that strangers sit together in the same room dressed in jeans and coats.”

Contrary to these assertions, women have expressed that the Taliban’s actions have eroded their freedoms and rights over the past two years. Afghanistan has now become the only country in the world where women and girls are denied the right to education.

Maryam, a student, lamented, “I was in the 11th grade, and I am worried about my future. I want to continue my studies so that I can contribute to my community.”

One of the key criticisms from Afghan women is that the international community has largely overlooked the Taliban’s discriminatory policies against them. Their plea to the world is clear, as articulated by Zarmina Paryani, a women’s rights activist based in Germany: “Stand with us today and prevent a terrorist group from oppressing us daily.”

The United Nations has reported that in the past two years, the Taliban has issued more than 50 directives that have denied or restricted the freedoms and rights of women. Despite various appeals, the Taliban has not heeded any requests to ease these restrictions against women and girls in Afghanistan during this period.