Copenhagen, Denmark ( Associated Press) — Norway has denounced the latest Afghan Taliban decree calling for women to be covered from head to toe in public and warned that Afghanistan’s new ruler would “destroy the country for humanitarian, economic and leading to the destruction of human rights.”
A Taliban decree announced on Saturday ordered all Afghan women to wear the traditional burqa in public, and threatened to punish their male relatives in cases of non-compliance. It imposed similar restrictions on women and other harsh measures taken by the Taliban during their previous, 1996–2001 regime of Afghanistan.
Earlier this year, the Taliban decided to reopen schools for girls above grade six, reneging on an earlier promise and opting to appease its hardline base. That decision has attracted international condemnation and hindered efforts by the Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan last August, to seek recognition from potential international donors at a time when the country was mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis. .
Norway’s Deputy Foreign Minister Henrik Thune said in a statement on Sunday: “I am outraged by the announcement that warns that women in Afghanistan must cover their faces in public, cannot drive cars and can only be used when necessary.” But you can only go out of the house.”
Thune said the decree was “completely unacceptable” and stressed that although the Taliban are in power, “they are still a separate and non-representative government.”
“The Taliban’s policies continue to oppress women and girls instead of addressing the economic crisis and the need for an inclusive government,” he said.
Norway hosted three days of talks in January between the Taliban, Western diplomats and other representatives in closed-door meetings in the snow-capped mountains above the Norwegian capital Oslo.
The talks – the first in Europe since the Taliban takeover – focused on humanitarian aid and human rights to Afghanistan. Taliban-appointed Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki said the discussions went “very well”. The talks also included discussions between the Taliban and members of Afghan civil society.
Thune said it was necessary to move the talks forward, “even if the Taliban’s values are far from ours” and added that without talks, “we have no opportunity to influence those in power.”
He urged the Taliban to “once again keep their promises to Afghan women and girls”.
“Afghanistan’s women and girls are waiting for the right to a full life and cannot be excluded from society,” he said.