#DoNotTouchMyClothes: Afghan women’s social media protests against Taliban | Global development

Following street demonstrations across major cities in Afghanistan, women have now gone to social media to protest the Taliban’s harsh policies towards them.

An online campaign has seen Afghan women around the world share photos of themselves wearing traditionally colorful clothing using the hashtag #DoNotTouchMyClothes.

The protest is in response to a sit-down demonstration orchestrated by the Taliban at Kabul University, in which about 300 women appeared in all-black clothing covering their faces, hands and feet – the kind of dress never seen before in the whole the country.

The women waved Taliban flags, saying they supported the militants who have announced that women would not be allowed to hold senior government posts and that schools and universities should be gender segregated.

Since the Taliban captured the capital, Kabul, they have created a purely male interim government with only a handful of Tajik and Uzbek representatives and no member of the Hazara ethnic minority.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs is not part of the new regime, which has brought back the Ministry of Dissemination of Virtue and Prevention of Cargo, ensuring that sharia law is implemented throughout the country.

Many Afghan women, especially in urban centers, fear that their hard-earned freedoms may be curtailed, remembering the Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001, when women were largely confined to their homes.

Dr. Bahar Jalali, an Afghan historian and expert on gender research, posted the first image using the #DoNotTouchMyClothes hashtag, which has since inspired Afghan women across the globe.

Peymana Assad, den first person of Afghan origin elected to public office in the UK, posted a picture of herself in colorful robes and tweeted: “This is Afghan culture. My traditional dress.”

The BBC’s Sana Safi, who posted a similar image, wrote: “So how do Afghan women dress then? Like this. If I were in Afghanistan, I would have the headscarf on. This is so ‘conservative’ and ‘traditional’, as I / you can stay. ”

Musician Ariana Delawari shared a photo of her mother “with me in her belly,” she wrote, wearing traditional dresses and without scarves decades ago in Afghanistan.

Despite the Taliban’s announcement that further protests would only be allowed if the Justice Ministry approves it, women in Kabul have promised to continue their demonstrations.

Samira, a student at Kabul University, said this was her only way forward. “The Taliban have already begun to restrict women’s freedoms,” she said. “I have nothing to lose. I’m either locked up in my house, unable to continue my education, or I can fight. Even if I risk my life, even if they kill me, it’s better than being brought to. silence.”

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