UN Secretary Kofi Annan this week condemned the Taliban decree ordering Hindus to wear a yellow identification badge. The US, India, and other countries have also denounced the badges, likening them to the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany. The badge is the most recent of the Taliban militia’s extreme and oppressive decrees. The Taliban’s religious police, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, are responsible for patrolling the streets, shops, and hospitals of the Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan (about 90% of the country). They are empowered to jail a man for having a beard smaller than his fist, lash a woman for showing bare skin, or close a shop if the owner fails to attend mosque five times a day. Women are barred from working outside the home, except in hospitals. Recently, the Taliban raided a hospital where men and women were working because they dined in the same cafeteria (separated by a curtain). Television, independent radio, and musical instruments are also banned.
The Feminist Majority Foundation continues to encourage the U.S. government to send increased aid to Afghan refugees fleeing from the Taliban.