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Taleban order women to cover up head to toe

KABUL (AP) – Afghanistan’s Taleban rulers on Saturday ordered all Afghan women to wear head-to-toe clothing in public – a pivot that confirmed the worst fears of rights activists and was bound to further complicate Taleban dealings with the international community.

The decree said that women should leave home only when necessary, and that male relatives would face punishment for women’s dress code violations.

It was the latest in a series of repressive edicts issued by the Taleban leadership, not all of which have been implemented. Last month, for example, the Taleban forbade women to travel alone, but after a day of opposition, that has since been silently ignored.

Yesterday in the capital, Kabul, many women on the street were wearing the same large shawls as before. Women also arrived unaccompanied at Kabul International Airport, while in the city women boarded small buses alone.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said it was deeply concerned with what appeared to be a formal directive that would be implemented and enforced, adding that it would seek clarifications from the Taleban about the decision.

“This decision contradicts numerous assurances regarding respect for and protection of all Afghans’ human rights, including those of women and girls, that had been provided to the international community by the Taleban during discussions and negotiations over the past decade,” it said.

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