Taliban: Norway criticizes Afghan Taliban edict requiring women to cover up

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – Norway has criticized the latest Afghan Taliban edict requiring women to cover themselves from head to toe in public and warned that Afghanistan’s new rulers are “steering the country towards a human rights, economic and humanitarian catastrophe”.
The Taliban decree, announced on Saturday, ordered all Afghan women to wear full-covering clothing in public, the traditional burqa, and threatened to punish their male relatives for non-compliance. He evoked similar restrictions on women and other hard-line measures imposed by the Taliban during its previous rule of Afghanistan from 1996-2001.
Earlier this year, the Taliban decided not to reopen schools for girls older than sixth grade, reneging on an earlier promise and opting instead to appease its hardline base. That decision drew international condemnation and derailed efforts by the Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan last August, to gain recognition from potential international donors at a time when the country is mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis.
“I am outraged by the announcement that women in Afghanistan must wear a face covering in public, cannot drive a car and only leave the house when necessary,” a statement from Henrik Thune, Norway’s deputy foreign minister, said on Sunday. .
Thune called the edict “completely unacceptable” and stressed that although the Taliban are in power, “they remain an isolated and unrepresentative government.”
“Taliban policies continue to oppress women and girls, instead of addressing the economic crisis and the need for an inclusive government,” he said.
Norway hosted three days of talks in January between the Taliban, Western diplomats and other delegates at closed-door meetings in the snow-capped mountains above the Norwegian capital of Oslo.
The talks, the first in Europe since the Taliban took power, focused on humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and human rights. Taliban-appointed Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said the discussions “went very well.” The talks also included discussions between the Taliban and members of Afghan civil society.
Thune said it was necessary to seek dialogue, “even if the Taliban have values ​​that are far from ours,” adding that without dialogue, “we also have no chance of influencing those in power.”
He urged the Taliban to “once again keep their promises to Afghan women and girls.”
“The women and girls of Afghanistan expect the right to a full life and cannot be excluded from society,” he said.

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