Kabul, Afghanistan – United State Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West dubbed the latest hijab policy by the Taliban government “an affront to human rights”, warning the group on its negative impact to their relationship with international community.

This came after the so-called Islamic Emirate, in a formal decree under the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, announced Saturday that it is “required for all respectable Afghan women to wear a hijab.”

The ministry identified the known blue-colored Afghan burqa that covers full body as the “best hijab” of choice, which locally is known as chadori. Also, acceptable as a hijab is a long black veil covering a woman from head to toe.

“Combined with the continuing ban on girls’ access to secondary education and work, restrictions on freedom of movement, and targeting of peaceful protesters, the Taliban’s policies toward women are an affront to human rights and will continue to negatively impact their relations with the international community,” West said in tweet on Monday.

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Meanwhile, the United Nation Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is “alarmed” by the latest announcement that deprives women of their basic rights, including the rights to freely be out in the city.

“I’m alarmed by today’s announcement by the Taliban that women must cover their faces in public and leave home only in cases of necessity,” he said in a tweet.

While the Taliban pulls the string on women’s overall freedom and girls’ access to education in Afghanistan, Guterres “once again” urged the Islamic Emirate leadership to revive women and girls’ basic rights in the country.

“I once again urge the Taliban to keep their promises to Afghan women & girls, and their obligations under international human rights law,” he urged.

FILE: A girl sits with women wearing burqas outside a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan October 5, 2021. REUTERS/Jorge Silva TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Since the takeover in August last year, the Taliban have been imposing restrictions, including on freedom of speech and girls’ education, to govern the country; but the decree is the first of its kind where criminal punishment is assigned for violation of the dress code for women.

“If a woman is caught without a hijab, her mahram (a male guardian) will be warned. The second time, the guardian will be summoned [by Taliban officials], and after repeated summons, her guardian will be imprisoned for three days,” according to the statement, as Aljazeera quoted.

On top of it, the Ministry warned government employees who violate the hijab rule will be fired and male guardians found guilty of repeated offences “will be sent to the court for further punishment”.