Afghan women working for NGOs threatened with death if they do not wear the Burqa

The Taliban also demanded that these women be accompanied by a male chaperone

Taliban religious police threatened to shoot women working for NGOs in a northwestern province of Afghanistan if they did not wear the burqa, employees of these organizations learned on Friday.

Representatives of the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Badghis province met with humanitarian organizations on Sunday, two local members of international NGOs said.

“They told us (…) that if our female staff came to the office without wearing the burqa, they would shoot them,” said one of these sources, requesting anonymity for security reasons.

The Taliban also demanded that these women be accompanied by a male chaperone, she added.

The second humanitarian source confirmed this information. “They also said they would go to every office unannounced to make sure the rules are followed,” she explained.

Written notification has been sent to NGOs working in the province. It does not contain death threats, but asks women to veil themselves.

The burqa is a full veil with a fabric grid at eye level, traditionally worn for decades in the most conservative areas of the country, and whose wearing was compulsory under the first Taliban regime (1996-2001).

Islamist fundamentalists, who had largely trampled on human rights when they first came to power, took over the country in mid-August after 20 years of armed insurrection.