Taliban: Women Taking Trips Should Bring a Male Relative

Pakistan joins Human Rights Watch in objecting to Afghanistan directive
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2021 4:35 PM CST
Taliban Limit Trips by Women Traveling Alone to 45 Miles
Women chant and hold signs of protest Monday in Kabul, Afghanistan. Members of the Women's Political Participation Network displayed signs calling for education, food, jobs, security, political participation, and equality with men.   (AP Photo/Mohammed Shoaib Amin)

New travel restrictions have been placed on women in Afghanistan by the Taliban. If they're going more than 45 miles, they should travel with a close male relative, the BBC reports. If they're not wearing Islamic head or face coverings, drivers should refuse to give them a ride. And music should not be played in the vehicle. The directive was issued Sunday by the Taliban's Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. "I cannot go out independently," said a midwife in Kabul. "What should I do if either I or my child is sick and my husband is not available?"

Since taking power in August after US forces left the country, the Taliban have encouraged women to stay home. Most secondary schools are closed to them. The Taliban have said the restrictions are just until schools and workplaces are made safe for them. A ban on their appearance on TV dramas went into effect last month. The latest announcement "shuts off opportunities for [women] to be able to move about freely," an official with Human Rights Watch said, per AFP, or "to be able to flee if they are facing violence in the home."

Pakistan issued an unusual public rebuke of its neighbor's rulers, per the Voice of America. "We want to fully help the people of Afghanistan," said Information Minister Fawad Hussain on Monday. "But saying that women can't travel alone or go to schools and colleges—this kind of retrogressive thinking is a threat to Pakistan." The midwife in Kabul described her loss since the takeover. "The Taliban captured our happiness from us," she said. "I have lost both my independence and happiness." (More Taliban stories.)

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