Afghan Taliban officials said on Sunday that women seeking to travel other than short distances should not be offered transportation unless accompanied by a close male relative.
The guidelines, issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, also called on all vehicle owners to offer rides only to women wearing the Islamic hijab.
“Women who cover more than 72 kilometers should not be offered a trip 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 advice, released on social media networks, comes weeks after the ministry asked Afghan TV stations to stop broadcasting dramas and soap operas featuring female actresses.
The ministry also called on women television journalists to wear the hijab during their presentations.
Muhajir said on Sunday that the hijab would also be required for women seeking transportation. The ministry directive also asked people to stop playing music in their vehicles.
The Taliban’s interpretation of the hijab – which can range from a hair cover to a face veil or full body cover – is unclear, and the majority of Afghan women already wear a headscarf.
Since coming to power in August, the Taliban have imposed various restrictions on women and girls, despite the promise of a looser rule compared to their first term in power in the 1990s.
In several provinces, local Taliban authorities have been persuaded to reopen schools, but many girls are still cut off from secondary education.
Earlier this month, the Islamist group issued a decree on behalf of its supreme leader ordering the government to uphold women’s rights.
The decree did not mention girls’ access to education.
Activists hope the Taliban’s battle for international recognition and a return of aid to one of the world’s poorest countries will lead them to make concessions to women.
Respect for women’s rights has been cited repeatedly by major global donors as a condition for restoring aid.
Women’s rights were severely curtailed during the previous Taliban rule.
They were then forced to wear the full-covering burqa, were only allowed to leave the house with a male chaperone, and were barred from work and education.
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