Anger among Afghan women as the Edict of the Veil of the Face divides the Taliban

Kabul (AP), Afghanistan — Aruza was furious and afraid. She was on the lookout for the Taliban on patrol while she and her friends were shopping in the Macroyan district of Kabul on Sunday.

Fearing her big shawl, the math teacher wrapped her head tightly and wiped out the light brown coat did not meet the latest legislation by the country’s religiously-moved Taliban government. After all, she wasn’t just her eyes. I saw her face.

Arusa, who asked to be identified by just one name to avoid getting attention, did not wear the comprehensive burqa preferred by the Taliban, who issued a new dress code for women that will appear publicly on Saturday. bottom. She said the edict should only be visible to the female eye.

A decree by Taliban hardline leader Hibaitullah Akhunzada suggests that women should not leave their homes unless necessary and outlines a series of penalties for female male relatives who violate the norm.

This has had a major impact on the rights of women in Afghanistan. Afghanistan lived relatively freely before the Taliban takeover last August.

A secluded leader, Akhnzada rarely travels outside the traditional Taliban center of southern Kandahar. He supports the harsh elements of the group’s previous power in the 1990s, when girls and women were largely banned from school, work, and public life.

Like the Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, Akhnzada combines religion with ancient tribal traditions and often imposes strict Islamic brands that obscure the two.

According to analysts, Akhnzada embraces the tradition of tribal villages where girls often get married during adolescence and rarely leave home, which they call religious demands.

The Taliban are divided into practitioners and hardliners because they struggle to move from rebels to governing bodies. Meanwhile, their government has dealt with the deteriorating economic crisis. And the Taliban’s efforts to gain recognition and assistance from Western nations have failed, largely because they have not formed a more representative government and have restricted the rights of girls and women. rice field.

So far, hardliners and practitioners of the movement have avoided open conflicts.

However, on the eve of the new school year, the division deepened when Akhnzada made a last-minute decision that girls could not go to school after finishing sixth grade in March. A few weeks before the start of the school year, Taliban officials told journalists that all girls would be allowed to return to school. Akhunzada argued that allowing older girls to return to school violated Islamic principles.

A prominent Afghanistan who met with the leadership and is familiar with internal conflicts said at a recent leaders’ meeting that the senior cabinet minister was outraged by Akhnzada’s views. He spoke on condition of anonymity to speak freely.

Former government adviser Trek Farhadi believes that Taliban leaders chose not to spar in public because they feared that perceptions of division could undermine their control. He said he was.

“The leadership doesn’t look at many issues, but we all know that if we don’t put them together, everything can collapse. In that case, they can start clashing with each other. I have. “

“That’s why the elders decided to put up with each other, including the unpleasant decisions that are causing a lot of turmoil inside and outside Afghanistan,” Farhadi added.

Some more practical leaders seem to be looking for a quiet workaround to mitigate hard-line statutes. Since March, even among the most powerful Taliban leaders, there has been an increasing chorus of returning older girls to school, quietly ignoring other oppressive edicts.

Earlier this month, Anas Haqqani, brother of Shirajudin, who heads a strong Haqqani network, said at a meeting in the eastern city of Khost that the girl was eligible for education and would soon return to school. when. He also said that women played a role in building the country.

“You will receive very good news that will make everyone very happy … this problem will be resolved the next day,” Haqqani said at the time.

In Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan on Sunday, women wore customary conservative Islamic dresses. Most wore a traditional hijab consisting of a scarf and a long robe or coat, but few covered their faces as directed by the Taliban leader the day before. A minority of people wore burqa, head-to-toe clothing, covering their faces and hiding their eyes behind the net.

“Women in Afghanistan are wearing hijabs, and many are wearing burqas, but this is not the hijab, but the Taliban wants to make all women disappear,” she said in her flowing black coat. Shabana, wearing a bright gold bangle underneath, said. Hair hidden behind her black-headed scarf with sequins. “This means that the Taliban wants to hide us.”

Arooza said the Taliban rulers are driving Afghans to leave their country. “Why should I stay here when they don’t want to give us human rights? We are humans,” he said.

Some women stopped talking. They all challenged the latest edict.

“We don’t want to live in jail,” said Parveen, who wanted to give him just one name, just like any other woman.

“These edicts are trying to erase the gender and generation of Afghanistan who grew up dreaming of a better world,” said Ovaidura Baheel, a visiting scholar at the New School in New York and a former lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan. Stated.

“It encourages families to leave the country by the necessary means, which also fuels dissatisfaction that will ultimately spill over into the massive mobilization of the Taliban.”

After decades of war, Baheel said it would not have been so much on the Taliban’s side to satisfy the Afghans with their rule of “the opportunity for the Taliban to waste rapidly.” rice field.