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Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, new worries about the freedoms of women and girls have come to the forefront. In the past few weeks, Afghan women both in and out of the country have been participating in a social media campaign to protest against the Taliban’s new dress code for female students. They have been sharing photos of themselves wearing colourful traditional Afghan garments using the hashtags #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanistanCulture.
While the Taliban have said only that female students must observe hijab, without giving more details, women dressed in black robes at a pro-Taliban rally in Kabul September 11 raised fears that the Islamist group will reintroduce mandatory wearing of head-to-toe garments.
We spoke to two Afghan women who told us more about the Taliban’s dress code – and the women who are fighting against it in the streets and online.
Homira Rezai, based in London, is an activist for the rights of the Hazara people, an ethnic minority in Afghanistan. She says that clothing and traditional garments are an important tool for people of Afghanistan’s more than 14 ethnic groups to express their identities.
Neda (not her real name) is a women’s rights activist still in Afghanistan who spoke to us anonymously. She says that the black robes that cover the face and hands worn by some female Taliban supporters are much more extreme than the blue chadori which was the norm during the Taliban’s prior rule from 1996 to 2001.
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