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Afghanistan: Taliban bans women from traveling long trips without male escort

Women will also be refused public transport if they are not wearing a hijab, the Taliban said

The Taliban said Afghan women who wanted to travel long distances by road should not be allowed to travel unless they were accompanied by a male relative.

The order was announced on Sunday by the Department of Promotion of Beauty and Prevention, and is the latest in a long line of women’s rights since Islamists took office in August.

Department spokesman Sadeq Akif Muhajir said: “Women traveling more than 72 kilometers should not be boarded if they are not accompanied by a family member nearby.”

Mr Mujahir added that women would also be barred from being transported on the streets if they did not wear the hijab.

The order also asked people to stop playing music in cars while traveling.

Shortcuts have been criticized by human rights activists who say they make women “prisoners”.

“This new order goes a long way in arresting women,” Heather Barr, director of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, told AFP.

“It deprives them of the opportunity to move around freely, move to another city, do business, [or] be able to flee in the face of domestic violence,” he added.

The restrictions come months after the Taliban take over Afghanistan followed by restrictions on women’s travel, education, and social inclusion.

During the former Taliban between 1996 and 2001, before it was ousted by the western bloc, women’s rights were equally limited.

Women were barred from schools, colleges, offices and were allowed to leave the house with only a male member. They also had to wear hijabs that would cover their entire face.

Since its return to power in August, the Taliban have once again banned women from education and ordered women television presenters and journalists to cover their heads with hijab.

Recently, the ministry also asked television stations in Afghanistan to stop broadcasting games featuring women.

In its second term, the Taliban emphasized the need to respect women’s rights.

On Sunday, the Taliban government said it was discussing women’s education.

“Islamic Emirate is not against women’s education but against cooperation,” Afghanistan’s higher education minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani told reporters.

“We are working to build a Muslim community where women can learn … it may take some time,” she added.

Earlier this month the Taliban government announced that Afghan women should not be considered “property,” and should agree to marry, taking action against forced marriages.

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