Scholars decide on the burqa: Taliban announce advice on women’s issues

Scholars decide on the burqa
Taliban announce council on women’s issues

The moment of truth is approaching for Afghan women: in the future it will be men who will decide how they have to dress, whether they are allowed to work or learn something. The Taliban want to set up a body of Islamic scholars for this purpose. The rest of the army is also said to come under the command of the Islamists.

According to a senior Taliban leader, the rights of women in Afghanistan will in future be determined by a council of Islamic scholars. These scholars would ultimately decide about work and education for women, whether girls are allowed to go to school and how women should dress, said Taliban representative Wahidullah Haschimi, who is involved in the decision-making processes of the Islamists. You would also decide whether women should wear a headscarf-like hijab, a full-body burqa, or just a veil and an abaya – a type of full-body garment with the face uncovered – or something else. “That is left to the scholars.”

On Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Sabihullah Mujahid said that women’s rights were respected, that they were allowed to work, study and actively participate in society – “but within the framework of Islam”. During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban banned women from working and girls were not allowed to go to school. Women also had to wear burqas when going out, and then only when accompanied by a male relative. Those who violated the rules were persecuted by the religious police and publicly punished.

Army reform: recruit fighter pilots and ex-soldiers

Initial plans for reforming the army were also announced: According to Haschimi, the Taliban want to win over former pilots and soldiers of the Afghan armed forces to rebuild the army. There will be some changes in the army. “But we need them and we will ask them to join us,” said the Taliban leader.

Above all, the Taliban needed pilots because they did not have any of their own, but helicopters and planes fell into their hands during the lightning-fast conquest of the country after the withdrawal of foreign troops. “Most of them have completed their training in Turkey, Germany and England. So we will talk to them so that they can return to their positions,” said Haschimi.

In addition, the Taliban are calling on neighboring countries to return military aircraft with which soldiers have fled. During their advance, the Taliban deliberately killed pilots in order to take out the Afghan air force.