The Taliban announced on Sunday that Afghan women could no longer travel distances of over 45 miles without the presence of a “close male relative,” adding that vehicle owners should refuse rides to women not wearing headscarves.
Along with this directive, the Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice asked that people stop playing music in their cars. These moves, follow similar orders aimed to roll back the public presence of women, such as a call to TV networks asking that stations stop showing programs with female actors and that TV journalists wear hijabs.
“Women travelling for more than 45 miles [72 kilometres] should not be offered a ride if they are not accompanied by a close family member,” ministry spokesman Sadeq Akif Muhajir told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Sunday, specifying that the close family member be male.
Human rights organizations swiftly came out against the new measure, with Heather Barr, Human Rights Watch’s associate director of women’s rights, telling the AFP that the measure moves the country “further in the direction of making women prisoners.”