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Taliban orders all Afghan women to wear head-to-toe burkas in public
7 May 2022, 12:45 | Updated: 7 May 2022, 22:39
Afghan women have been ordered by the Taliban to wear head-to-toe burkas in public and to "stay at home" if they have no important work outside.
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The group claimed it wants its "sisters to live with dignity and safety" as it announced the new restrictions.
The move evokes similar controls imposed on Afghan women during the Taliban's previous hard-line rule between 1996 and 2001.
The ruling for those who aren't "too old or young" has come from the group's supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhunzada.
He also said if women had no important work outside it was "better they stay at home".
The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice says a woman's father or closest male relative could be jailed if they're caught not wearing burkas in public.
"We want our sisters to live with dignity and safety," said Khalid Hanafi, acting minister for the Taliban's ministry of vice and virtue.
In response to the move, a Foreign Office spokesperson said: "Responsibility for what happens in Afghanistan lies with the Taliban.
"We will judge them by their actions, not their words. If they want international acceptance, they must live up to their obligations and commitments, particularly on the rights of women and girls."
The Taliban previously decided against reopening schools to girls above grade six (around 11 years old), reneging on an earlier promise and opting to appease their hard-line base at the expense of further alienating the international community.
That decision disrupted efforts by the Taliban to win recognition from potential international donors at a time when the country is mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis.
The international community has urged Taliban leaders to reopen schools.