The Taliban have recaptured power with a promise of bringing a new era of peace in Afghanistan.
Women in the Taliban-occupied Afghanistan rush to burqa shops.
In a market in Kabul, Aref is doing a booming trade. At first glance, the walls of his shop seem to be curtained in folds of blue fabric. On closer inspection, dozens and dozens of blue burqas hang like spectres from hooks on the wall.
One of these women is Aaila, who is haggling with another shopkeeper over rapidly inflating burqa prices. “Last year these burqas cost AFS 200 [£2]. Now they’re trying to sell them to us for AFS 2,000 to 3,000,” she says. As the fear among women in Kabul has grown, the prices have risen.
For decades, the traditional Afghan burqa, mostly sold in shades of blue, was synonymous with Afghan women’s identity around the world. Usually made of heavy cloth, it is specifically designed to cover the wearer from head to toe. A netted fabric is placed near the eyes so that the woman inside can peer out through the meshing but nobody can see inside. It was enforced strictly during the Taliban regime in the late 1990s, and failure to wear one while in public could earn women severe punishments and public lashings from the Taliban’s “moral police”.
Today, there are burqas in the streets of downtown Kabul but women are also dressed in an array of different styles, many mixing traditional materials with colourful modern patterns and fashion inspiration from across the region.
“Afghan women are some of the most naturally stylish women in the world,” says Fatimah, an artist and fashion photographer. “When you go on to the streets of Kabul today you see this amazing mix of different fabrics and nods to centuries-old traditions mixed with very modern styles and inspirations. It’s this beautiful, creative spirit that was just full of hope for the future.”
Miriam, a young woman, was also out shopping after she said her husband forced her to go out to get herself a burqa. “My husband asked me to change the type of clothes I wear, and to start wearing the burqa so that the Taliban will pay less attention to me if I am outside,” she said, unhappy with the developments.
Days later, these women are already under Taliban control after Herat city fell to militant forces on Thursday. Shortly after the city fell, a Taliban declaration was circulated online and among Herat citizens informing women that wearing the burqa was now mandatory in all public spaces.
Edited :The guardian reports