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KABUL: Many women in the Afghan capital are delaying a return to fully covering their faces in public in defiance of orders from Taliban rulers, others are staying at home and some have been wearing COVID-19 face masks anyway.

The Taliban, who swept back to power as the government collapsed, on Saturday ordered women to cover their faces in public, a return to their past Taliban rule and an escalation of restrictions on girls and women that are causing anger at home and abroad.

The consequences of disobedience are aimed at a woman’s closest male family member, ranging from a warning to imprisonment.

The UN Security Council will meet on Thursday to discuss the order and the United States said it would increase pressure on the Taliban administration.

Afghan women protest Taliban decree to cover faces

It was not clear whether any men had yet faced consequences by Wednesday and Taliban authorities said they would first focus on “encouraging” adherence.

In Kabul, one of the more liberal areas of Afghanistan, there were indications that women were pushing back.

At least two protests took place this week, as demonstrators criticised growing attempts to limit women from public life.

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