The United Nations Security Council is set to meet on Thursday to discuss an order by the Afghan Taliban for women to cover their faces in public, a return to the distinctive politics of the former hardline rule of the Islamist group and escalating restrictions.
Norway’s mission to the United Nations, which requested the closed-door meeting to “address the increasing restrictions on the human rights and freedoms of girls and women,” said the UN special envoy to Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, was set to brief the 15-member council.
Under the former Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, women had to cover up, could not work, and girls were banned from school. But after seizing power in August, they vowed to respect women’s rights.
But in March, the Taliban backtracked on its announcement to open girls’ secondary schools, saying they would remain closed until a plan was drawn up in accordance with Islamic law to reopen.
Then, the organization’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, said on Saturday that if a woman does not cover her face outside the home, her father or her closest male relative will be visited and face the prospect of imprisonment or dismissal from government jobs.
Most women in Afghanistan wear the headscarf for religious reasons, but many in urban areas such as Kabul do not cover their faces.
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