By: Rukhshana Media
The Taliban morality police in Balkh province have set a one-week deadline for female business owners and sellers to cease trade.
Women with businesses in City Walk of Mazar-e-Sharif city confirmed to Rukhshana Media on Thursday 5 January that they have been told to close their shops by next week.
“This morning, the Taliban morality police came to the market and checked everything was in order. We were all wearing hijab,” Pashtana Afghan, a saleswoman at City Walk said.
“Then they went to the office of the head of the market. A few minutes later, one of the male shopkeepers came and told us that the Taliban were saying women should not come to the market from next week.”
Ms Pashtana did not believe it at first.
“‘Don’t lie,’ I told him, ‘They would have told us if that was the case.’”
But only a few minutes later, it was confirmed.
“The head of the market came and said that the morality police told the women not to come to the market starting from tomorrow, but he asked for a week’s respite,” she said.
Ms Pashtana says hearing the news has been one of the most crushing moments of her life.
“The moment I heard the news, I was very upset. My mental stress has greatly increased. This is how we find money for water and food. But now what should we do?” She said.
Another vendor at the market, Najia, told Rukhshana Media she does not know why such an order was made.
“What do these people want from us women? We observed the hijab as they wanted, and we wore face masks,” she said. “Why do they prevent us from earning halal bread?”
At least 30 women-owned businesses, mostly run by women who support their families, are active in the City Walk business market.
This latest restriction follows a country-wide directive for local and foreign NGOs to not employ women or have their operating licence revoked.
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