Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership has ordered all Afghan women to wear all covering burkas in public which has sparked outrage in the West.
The move has been condemned by the Foreign Office who have said that the Taliban must respect the rights of women and girls to gain international acceptance.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “Responsibility for what happens in Afghanistan lies with the Taliban.
“We will judge them by their actions, not their words. If they want international acceptance, they must live up to their obligations and commitments, particularly on the rights of women and girls.”
Khalid Hanafi, acting minister for the Taliban’s ministry of vice and virtue, said: “We want our sisters to live with dignity and safety.”
Those who do not follow the order including the parents or relatives of women and girls have been warned they will face the full force of the law.
The Taliban previously decided against reopening schools to girls above grade six (around 11 years old), reneging on an earlier promise and opting to appease their hardline base at the expense of further alienating the international community.
Shir Mohammad, an official from the vice and virtue ministry, said: “For all dignified Afghan women wearing Hajib is necessary and the best Hajib is chadori (the head-to-toe burka) which is part of our tradition and is respectful.
“Those women who are not too old or young must cover their face, except the eyes.”
The move to require burkas sees similar restrictions imposed to those on women during the Taliban’s previous hardline rule between 1996 and 2001.
The decree added that if women have no important work to be done outside, it is better for them to stay at home.
The Foreign Office spokesperson added: “The UK has taken a leading role in the humanitarian response in Afghanistan and will continue to do so.