Taliban to ban music in Afghanistan, women will need male chaperone to travel

When the Taliban took over in 1996, the organization became notorious for forcing Afghan women to only leave the house in a burqa

                            Taliban to ban music in Afghanistan, women will need male chaperone to travel
(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, they have reportedly said that they will be more liberal than they were 20 years ago, more progressive this time around. But regardless of their claims, the latest reports coming in from the country speak of a different reality. A Taliban leader recently announced that music will be banned in the country and that women will be required to travel with a male chaperone on trips.

In an interview with the New York Times, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that while women eventually will be allowed to return to work and go on trips to school, and hospitals, they would need a male chaperone for trips that last several days. Additionally, music will be banned in the country. "Music is forbidden in Islam, but we're hoping that we can persuade people not to do such things, instead of pressure them," Mujahid reportedly said. 


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At the same time, he claims that things will be different under this Taliban rule than the previous regime. "We want to build the future and forget what happened in the past," he said. This is the complete opposite of reports that reveal that the Taliban is already exacting revenge on those who opposed them, even trying to reimpose harsh restrictions on women that they did when they first took control in 1996.

In the interview with New York Times, he said that the Taliban will let women return to their jobs in the future as long as they wear a head covering. Additionally, he said that concerns that the Taliban would once again force women to stay inside or cover their faces are baseless. 

When the Taliban took over in 1996, the terror organization became notorious for forcing Afghan women to only leave the house in a burqa, which is an often dark, loose garment that conceals the head, face, and entire body, with only a fabric mesh to see out of. Women were also not allowed to attend school and had to face public flogging if they were found to have violated morality rules.

Furthermore, Mujahid said that those with proper travel documents will be able to leave the country, and that his regime will not hunt down former interpreters and others who have worked with the American military over the years. However, he did express frustration at American evacuation efforts. "They shouldn't interfere in our country and take out our human resources: doctors, professors and other people we need here," Mujahid said. "In America, they might become dishwashers or cooks. It's inhuman."

At the same time, he said that he is hopeful that the Taliban could build good relationships with the international community, claiming that they have apparently already cooperated with international leaders on issues like counterterrorism, opium eradication and the reduction of refugees to the West.

The spokesperson's remarks come one day after he announced at a press conference that women should remain inside "until we have a new procedure" in place. Also, the Taliban reportedly continues to train its forces not to harass women. "We are worried our forces, who are new and have not been yet trained very well, may mistreat women," he said. "We don't want our forces, God forbid, to harm or harass women." He also said that women's salaries will be paid in their homes. Previously, Ahmadullah Waseq, the deputy of the Taliban’s cultural affairs committee, told the NYT that the Taliban has "no problems with working women" as long as they wear hijabs.

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