Reporting from Kabul, which the Taliban has taken over, CNN’s Clarissa Ward challenged a Taliban commander on why Afghan women will need to cover their face.
“How will you protect women? Because many women are afraid they will not be allowed to go to school, they will not be allowed to work,” Ward asked Taliban Commander Assad Massoud Khistani.
“The female, the woman can continue their life and we will not say anything for them,” responded Khistani. “They can go to the school, they can continue their education with Islamic hijab.”
Ward, who was wearing a hijab, followed up with “So like I’m wearing?”
“Not like you but covering their faces as well,” said Khistani.
“Cover the face? So you mean niqab?” asked Ward to which Khistani answered in the affirmative. A niqab is a veil worn by some Muslim women in public which covers their entire face except for their eyes. Ward was not wearing a niqab.
“Why do they have to cover their face?” asked Ward.
Khistani replied that it is because that is what Islam dictates.
“Is it in Islam, though, that you have to wear niqab?” asked Ward.
“Of course, it is in Islam,” said Khistani.
Contrary to Khistani’s answer, the niqab is not mandatory in Islam, according to the majority of scholars — though that notion is disputed by some.