While widows in Kabul stand in line for food handouts and policemen beg at intersections, the Taliban extremist group in Afghanistan issued an edict banning foreign journalists from writing commentaries or analyses of the situation in Afghanistan. In addition, foreign journalists were ordered to write only reports which “conform with the rules . . . and traditions of the country.” Photographs of women or animals are also forbidden. Afghanistan currently has no independent newspapers or radio stations. Afghans receive their news from the international media.
The Taliban controls the southern two-thirds of Afghanistan, where they have prohibited women from working, going to school, leaving their homes without a close male relative, or appearing in public without a burqa, a head-to-toe garment with only a mesh opening to see through.
The Taliban has said they cannot deal with the problem of widespread poverty until they have captured all of Afghanistan. Foreign aid agencies give monthly handouts of 10 pounds of oil and 26 pounds of beans to widows, who cannot support themselves because of the ban on women working.