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Reuters, January 13, 2008

Northern Afghan province bans male tailors from measuring women

The council also demanded the re-introduction of public executions, another policy during Taliban rule.

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL - Male tailors in an Afghan province have been barred from measuring female clients for fittings following a new local ruling that resembles the restrictions the ultra-conservative Taliban imposed on the country when in power.

Daulat Bibi, 40, told IWPR that she was raped by 13 men working for a local commander in Takhar.
"I was hospitalised for one and a half months," she said. "I went to the district governor's office, but no one listened to me. Those who raped me walk free, and the government did not even bother to arrest them. I went everywhere, but people told me, ‘There is no law that can do anything against these commanders. Just forget it."
Institute for War & Peace Reporting, Sep.13, 2007

The decision was made by a council of Islamic clergymen in northeastern Takhar province recently, governor Abdul Latif Ibrahimi said.

"The male tailors have been told to stop measuring women," Ibrahimi told Reuters by phone on Saturday. "They need to be measured by female tailors."

While many Afghan women have excellent needlework and dressmaking skills, the overwhelming majority of commercial tailors are men.

Ousted in 2001, the Taliban's radical Islamic government banned male tailors from outfitting women. They also barred women from most employment and education and also forced them to wear an all-enveloping burqa while venturing outdoors.

The curbs drew stern criticism from many countries. Violators would have been punished publicly.

For residents of the northern province of Takhar, there are worse things than the Taliban.... An IWPR investigation in the northern province in Takhar has revealed a succession of stories of abduction and brutal assault.
Institute for War & Peace Reporting, Sep.13, 2007

Ibrahimi did not say what would happen to anyone failing to comply with the new ruling.

The clergy plays a crucial role in Afghanistan and in the past has been behind a series of uprisings in the deeply Islamic conservative country.

During a meeting last week with President Hamid Karzai, who has been leading Afghanistan since the Taliban's ouster, a national Islamic body urged him to ban the TV airing of hugely popular soap operas, mostly Indian, which it deemed un-Islamic.

The council also demanded the re-introduction of public executions, another policy during Taliban rule.

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