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US ‘concerned’ after Taliban orders

A State Department official said Saturday that the US is "concerned" about the deterioration of women's rights in Afghanistan, after the Taliban ordered Afghan women to cover their faces in public.

"We are extremely concerned that the rights and progress Afghan women and girls have achieved and enjoyed over the last 20 years are being eroded," the spokesperson said, adding that Washington and its international partners are "deeply troubled" by recent Taliban actions targeting women and girls, such as restrictions on education and travel.

On Saturday, Afghanistan's supreme leader and Taliban chief ordered Afghan women to wear the burqa in public, one of the most severe restrictions on women's life since the Taliban took power.

"They should wear a chadori (head-to-toe burqa) because it is traditional and polite," Hibatullah Akhundzada stated in a proclamation announced by Taliban officials at a gathering in Kabul.

President Bush signs into law a joint resolution authorizing the use of force against those responsible for attacking the United States on September 11. This joint resolution will later be cited by the Bush administration as legal rationale for its decision to take sweeping measures to combat terrorism, including invading Afghanistan, eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without a court order, and standing up the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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