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Afghanistan’s Taliban ban long-distance road trips for solo women

A new directive issued by the Taliban on Sunday effectively bans Afghan women seeking to travel long distances by road alone. The directive is the latest curb on women’s rights since the Islamist group seized power in August, and prohibits women from traveling more than 45 miles without a male relative. Human Rights Watch, a campaign and activism group, has expressed concerns that the new restriction moves further towards making women prisoners and taking away their rights. Furthermore, the order shuts off opportunities for women to be able to move about the country freely or flee certain situations such as domestic violence.

The directive was issued by the Taliban’s Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The document also calls on vehicle owners to refuse rides to women not wearing Islamic face coverings, such as hijabs, however, it does not specify which covering to use. The directive also bans the playing of music in vehicles. The Taliban stated that the restrictions were temporary and only in place to ensure that all workplaces and learning environments are safe for women and girls. However, most girls’ secondary schools remain closed since the takeover in August. When the Taliban last exercised power over Afghanistan, in the 1990s, women were barred from education and the workplace.

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