Taliban Now Requires Male Escorts for Women on Long-Distance Road Trips

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Women wishing to make long-distance road trips in Afghanistan must now be accompanied by a male relative under new guidance issued by the Taliban.

Afghanistan's Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has also told drivers not to give lifts to women not wearing headscarves. The ministry also requested people not to play music in their vehicles. It comes just weeks after the Taliban ordered the nation's television channels not to air programmes in which women were pictured without headscarves.

"Women travelling for more than 45 miles (72 kilometres) should not be offered a ride if they are not accompanied by a close [male] family member," said ministry spokesman Sadeq Akif Muhajir.

Afghanistan’s two election commissions and the state ministries for peace and parliamentarian affairs have also been dissolved by the Taliban.

The Taliban's deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi called such institutions "unnecessary institutes for the current situation in Afghanistan."

The new rule on travel for women has drawn criticism from human rights groups.

"This new order essentially moves further in the direction of making women prisoners," said Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch. "It shuts off opportunities for them to be able to move about freely, to travel to another city, to do business, to be able to flee if they are facing violence in the home."
 

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