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Afghanistan: Taliban implements ‘no travel for women’ rule unless accompanied by male guardian

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Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities have stated “that women seeking to travel anything other than short distances should not be offered transport unless they are accompanied by a close male relative.” Why, of course. The male guardianship program is a stipulation of Islamic law. What’s more, the Taliban has fashioned its system of governance after that of Iran. Both Iran (the world’s leading Shia country) and Saudi Arabia (one of the world’s leading Sunni countries) have guardianship programs, as they are Islamic and in keeping with Sharia, which holds that women are inferior to men:

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great. (Quran 4:34)

Women are also required by the Quran to be fully covered, as per the Sharia:

And tell the believing women to reduce of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. (Quran 24:31)

O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. (Quran 33:59)

Even “the call of nature” is a matter of permission from the male guardian:

Narrated ‘Aisha: The Prophet said to his wives, “You are allowed to go out to answer the call of nature.” (Bukhari 4:149)

“No Trips For Afghan Women Unless Escorted By Male Relative: Taliban,” NDTV, December 26, 2021:

Kabul, Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities said Sunday that women seeking to travel anything other than short distances should not be offered transport unless they are accompanied by a close male relative.

The guidance, issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, also called on all vehicle owners to offer rides only to those women wearing Islamic hijabs.

“Women travelling for more than 45 miles (72 kilometres) should not be offered a ride if they are not accompanied by a close family member,” ministry spokesman Sadeq Akif Muhajir told AFP on Sunday, specifying that it must be a close male relative.

The guidance, circulated on social media networks, comes weeks after the ministry asked Afghanistan’s television channels to stop showing dramas and soap operas featuring women actors.

The ministry had also called on women TV journalists to wear hijabs while presenting.

Muhajir said Sunday that the hijab would also be required for women seeking transport. The ministry’s directive also asked people to stop playing music in their vehicles.

The Taliban’s interpretation of the hijab — which can range from a hair covering to a face veil or full-body covering — is unclear, and the majority of Afghan women already wear headscarves.

Since taking power in August, the Taliban have imposed various restrictions on women and girls, despite pledging a softer rule compared with their first stint in power in the 1990s.

In several provinces, local Taliban authorities have been persuaded to reopen schools — but many girls still remain cut off from secondary education.

Early this month, the Islamist group issued a decree in the name of their supreme leader instructing the government to enforce women’s rights….

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