Laws Issued by the Taliban Government in Afghanistan – by Malala Khan

With many in Pakistan still wooing for Taliban victory in Afghanistan, let’s glance through the decrees issued under this short yet ‘glorious’ rule.

Here are some of the laws issued by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

■The government declared: “A denier of veil is an infidel and an unveiled woman is lewd.”

■The veil must cover the whole body of a woman

■The veil must not be thin. Women’s clothes must not be thin.


■Women’s clothes must not be decorated and colorful.

■Women’s clothes must not be narrow and tight to prevent the seditious limbs from being noticed.

In December 1996, Radio Shari’a announced that 225 Kabul women had been seized and punished for violating the Shari’a code of dress. A tribunal handed down the sentence and the women were lashed on their legs and backs for their misdemeanor.

■Women must not perfume themselves. If a perfumed woman passes by a crowd of men, she is considered to be an adulteress.

■Women’s clothes must not resemble men’s clothes.

■Muslim women’s clothes must not resemble non-Muslim women’s clothes.

■Their foot ornaments must not produce sound.

■Women must not wear sound-producing garments.

■Women must not walk in the middle of streets.

■Women must not go out of their houses without their husband’s permission.

■Women must not talk to strange men.

■If it is necessary to talk, they must talk in a low voice and without laughter.

■Women must not look at strangers.

■Women must not mix with strangers.

■All ground and first floor residential windows should be painted over or screened to prevent women being visible from the street.

■They banned the photographing or filming of women. And also banned displaying pictures of females in newspapers, books, shops, or even the home.

■They changed the names of all places that included the word “women.” For example, “women’s garden” was renamed “spring garden”.

■Women were forbidden to appear on the balconies of their apartments or houses.

■There was a ban on women’s presence on radio, television, or at public gatherings of any kind.

■There was a ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles, even with their mahrams.

■Women were forbidden from riding in a taxi without a mahram.

■Segregated bus services were introduced to prevent males and females traveling on the same bus.

■Women were banned from studying in schools or universities.

When a Taliban raid discovered a woman running an informal school in her apartment, they beat the children; threw her down a flight of stairs causing her to break her leg; and then imprisoned her. They threatened to publicly stone her family if she didn’t sign a declaration of loyalty to the Taliban and its laws.

On September 30th 1996 the Taliban decreed that all women should be banned from employment. Some 25 percent of government employees were female. All lost their employment. Elementary education of children, not just girls, was shut down in Kabul, where virtually all of the elementary school teachers were women.

■Women were not allowed to gather for any recreational purposes.

■Women were prohibited from practicing family planning.

■Male doctors could not treat women.

■A surgical team containing a male member could not operate upon a woman.

■Women were banned from playing sports, or entering a sports center or club.

■A woman could not petition the court directly; her testimony was declared worth half a man’s testimony.

■Women were publicly stoned to death, and executed if accused of having sex outside of marriage.

■Women were forbidden to deal with male shopkeepers, or talk or shake hands with men outside their families.

■There was frequent whipping, beating, and verbal abuse of women not clothed in accordance with Taliban rules, or of women unaccompanied by a mahram.

■A woman could be whipped for having uncovered ankles.

■There was a ban on women washing clothes next to rivers or in a public place.

■They banned the Internet for all Afghans.

■There was a ban on male tailors taking women’s measurements or sewing women’s clothes.

■There was a ban on female public baths.

■There was a ban on flared (wide) pant-legs, even under a burqa.

■The Taliban banned the watching of movies, television and videos, for everyone.

■The Taliban banned celebrating the traditional New Year (Nowroz) and declared it un-Islamic.

■They banned Labor Day (May 1st), because it is deemed a “communist” holiday.

■They ordered that all people with non-Islamic names change them to Islamic ones.

■They forced haircuts upon Afghan youth.

■They ordered that men wear Islamic clothes and a cap.

■They ordered that men not shave or trim their beards, which should grow long enough to protrude from a fist clasped at the point of the chin.

■They ordered that all people attend prayers in mosques five times daily.

■They even banned the keeping of pigeons and playing with the birds, describing it as un-Islamic. They declared that the violators would be “imprisoned and the birds shall be killed”. They also banned kite flying.

■At sports matches, they ordered all spectators to refrain from clapping and instead to shout Allah-o-Akbar to encourage sportsmen.

■They decreed that anyone carrying “objectionable literature” would be executed.

■They decreed that anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion would be executed.

■They ordered that all boy students must wear turbans. They say “No turban, no education”.

■They ordered that non-Muslim minorities must wear distinct badges or stitch a yellow-cloth onto their dress to be differentiated from the majority Muslim population.

Here are some examples of the punishments that the Taliban government decreed:

■In October 1996, a woman had the tip of her thumb cut off for wearing nail varnish.

■In March 1997, a married woman, from Laghman Province, was caught attempting to flee the district with another man. The Islamic tribunal found her guilty of adultery and condemned both her and her lover to death by stoning.

■In May 1997, 5 female CARE International employees with authorization from the Ministry of the Interior to conduct research for an emergency-feeding program were forced from their vehicle by members of the religious police. The guards used a public address system to insult and harass the women before striking them with a metal and leather whip over 1.5 meters (almost 5 feet) in length.

■In 1999, a mother of seven was executed in front of 30,000 spectators in Kabul’s Ghazi Sport stadium for the murder of her abusive husband. She was imprisoned for 3 years and extensively tortured prior to the execution.




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