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Taliban require women to wear burqa in new decree

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Taliban require women to wear burqa in new decree
A burqa-clad woman and her child wait behind fences in Kabul, Afghanistan, on September 17, 2009. The Taliban has ruled that all women in the country must now wear the full-body covering. File Photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI | License Photo

May 7 (UPI) -- The Taliban on Saturday ordered that all Afghan women must wear a full-body covering, including the face, a return to restrictions first implemented in the 1990s.

The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice announced the new requirement during a news conference in Kabul, Sky News reported.

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The Taliban described the decree as "advice," but any women ignoring it could face escalating punishments, BBC News reported.

A first offense would result in the woman's home being visited by officials, who would talk to her husband, father or brother. The male family member would be summoned before the ministry for a second offense. And for a third offense, the male guardian could be jailed for three days.

The Taliban previously imposed the burqa requirement during its rule over Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

Under Islam, men and women are required to dress modestly. For women, this can mean everything from simply covering the hair with a hijab, to completely covering the body -- except for a small screen for the eyes -- with a burqa.

During its takeover of Afghanistan in August, the Taliban said it would maintain certain rights for women, but some of the freedoms gained over the past two decades have slowly been rescinded. The fundamentalist group has banned girls from receiving an education, the Ministry for Women's Affairs has been shuttered and some women have been banned from working. Women have also been prohibited from playing sports.

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Scenes from the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley deliver remarks about the end of the 20-year military mission in Afghanistan at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Va., on September 1. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

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