The Taliban increased their harsh restrictions on Afghan women today with new rules regarding buses. The latest decree is intended to prevent women from being seen while traveling on buses. Drivers are ordered to put up curtains on their buses, preventing men from seeing the women in the buses also denying women the opportunity to see out of bus windows.
The new rule, announced in a Taliban-run radio broadcast, also requires bus drivers to attach a curtain between themselves and the women passengers. All bus drivers are male because the Taliban has banned women from driving.
Drivers, as well as the young boys hired to collect the passengers' bus fare, are not allowed to speak or interact with the women at all, according to deputy head of the religious police, Maulvi Mohammed Sharif Haqqani.
The Taliban now controls over 90 percent of Afghanistan with their own extremist interpretation of Islamic law. Under the Taliban's repressive decrees, women and girls have been restricted from going to school, working, or leaving their homes without a male relative. When they do leave their houses with a chaperone, they are forced to wear a burqa, a cumbersome garment which greatly restricts sight and movement.
The windows of houses where women live must be painted opaque, and now bus windows will also be obstructed. A bus driver identifying himself as Mushtaq told the Associated Press, "...it is like a cage. . .no one can see the driver and no one can see the women."
The bus depots in Kabul are being patrolled by Religious police in order to assure the new rules are being followed.