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it's a cover-up

Muslim women in Afghanistan must wear head-to-toe coverings in public, Taliban orders

The Taliban government of Afghanistan announced Saturday that Muslim women would be required to wear head-to-toe coverings in public, The Washington Post reports.

"This is not a restriction on women but an order of the Quran," said Akif Muhajir, a spokesperson for the Taliban's Ministry of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. "It is the order of Allah and the prophet Muhammad."

The new rule only allows a woman's eyes to be exposed, meaning women must either wear a burqa or combine a veil and headscarf with a long robe called an abaya. Punishments for breaking the rule will (for the most part) be inflicted not on the women, but on their male guardians and could "range from several days in jail to being fired from their jobs," NPR reports, though Afghanistan's TOLOnews notes that female employees could also lose their jobs for failing to cover up.

The Taliban's treatment of women could make it more difficult to secure badly needed foreign aid. Without international assistance — which before the Taliban takeover accounted for 40 percent of the country's GDP —Afghanistan is the in midst of a devastating economic and humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations estimates that half of the country's 39 million people are suffering from acute hunger. Some have even grown desperate enough to sell their organs on the black market.