Taliban official confirm arrests of women for dress code violations in Kabul

A group of women attend a protest in Kabul on Oct. 2022. File photo.

KABUL, Afghanistan — A Taliban security official, Ihsanullah Saqib, confirmed the arrest of multiple women in western Kabul for what he describes as “lack of hijab”.

Speaking at a gathering on Tuesday, January 9, Saqib revealed that these arrests were made with the assistance of female police officers.

“We have detained a number of women and girls for lack of hijab with the help of female police,” Saqib stated, describing the detainees as those “totally without hijab,” wearing items like “pants or leggings with a dress”.

The meeting, attended by residents and a religious scholar from the predominantly Shiite Muslim western parts of Kabul, became a forum for criticism of the Taliban’s approach.

A religious scholar present at the gathering urged the Taliban to consult with the families of the accused women first, rather than taking them into police custody, highlighting the potential psychological impact on the women involved.

“The individuals responsible for upholding vice and virtue should first recommend contacting the families for discussion. However, taking their daughters into police custody should not be considered. These girls are sensitive and could be traumatized to the point of serious harm upon encountering police or a mujahid,” he stated.

Sources confirm that the Taliban has detained dozens of women in both western and northern Kabul over the past week, citing violations of the Taliban’s dress code.

These arrests come amid recent denials by a Taliban spokesperson of widespread detentions, attributing some cases to a campaign against begging in the city. This latest development underscores ongoing tensions in Afghanistan regarding women’s rights and the enforcement of strict dress codes under Taliban rule.