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Attempt to erase women from public life: Malala’s response to Taliban’s burqa diktat

At a time when the world IS focused on the Russia-Ukraine war, women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai sought to bring back the focus on the Afghanistan crisis that was triggered when the Taliban took over the country again in 2021. Responding to the Taliban’s diktat on Saturday directing women to wear head-to-toe clothing in public, Malala Yousafzai said it was an attempt to “erase girls and women from all public life in Afghanistan”.

ALSO READ: Pakistan toasted brotherly Taliban’s takeover but why they are bombing each other

“The Taliban want to erase girls and women from all public life in Afghanistan to keep girls out of school and women out of work, to deny them the ability to travel without a male family member, and to force them to cover their faces and bodies completely,” she said.

“We must not lose our sense of alarm for Afghan women as the Taliban continue to break their promises. Even now, women are taking to the streets to fight for their human rights and dignity all of us, and especially those from Muslim countries, must stand with them,” the Nobel laureate tweeted.

ALSO READ: Afghan students protest outside Indian Embassy in Kabul against delay in receiving e-visas

She urged leaders around the world to take collective action to hold the Taliban accountable for violating the human rights of millions of women and girls.

The decree on Saturday, the latest in a series, said that women should leave the home only when necessary, and that male relatives would face punishment — starting with a summons and escalating up to court hearings and jail time — for women’s dress code violations. “We want our sisters to live with dignity and safety,” said Khalid Hanafi, acting minister for the Taliban’s vice and virtue ministry.

ALSO READ | Life under Taliban rule: Afghan girls struggle for education

“For all dignified Afghan women wearing Hijab is necessary and the best Hijab is ‘chadori’ (the head-to-toe burqa) which is part of our tradition and is respectful,” said Shir Mohammad, an official from the vice and virtue ministry in a statement.

The Taliban previously decided against reopening schools to girls above grade 6, reneging on an earlier promise and opting to appease their hard-line base at the expense of further alienating the international community.

(With inputs from AFP)

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