Taliban order university women to wear face-covering niqab

25
Kabul

Women attending private Afghan universities must wear an abaya robe and niqab covering most of the face, the Taliban have ordered, and classes must be segregated by sex — or at least divided by a curtain.

In a lengthy document issued by the Taliban’s education authority, they also ordered that female students should only be taught by other women, but if that was not possible then “old men” of good character could fill in.

The decree applies to private colleges and universities, which have mushroomed since the Taliban’s first rule ended in 2001.

During that period, girls and women were mostly excluded from education because of rules regarding same-sex classrooms and the insistence they had to be accompanied by a male relative whenever they left the house.

There was no order for women to wear the all-enveloping burqa in the new regulations issued late on Saturday, but the niqab effectively covers most of the face anyway, leaving just the eyes exposed.

In recent years, burqas and niqabs have largely vanished from the streets of Kabul, but are seen more frequently in smaller cities and towns.The decree comes as private universities prepare to open on Monday. AFP

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