What Do Afghan Women Wear?

Afghan women wear a variety of clothing styles, though nearly all wear a hijab, or headscarf, and dress conservatively in clothing that is not form-fitting or flesh-baring. Many Afghan women still wear the burqa, a loose-fitting head-to-toe garment once required under Taliban law. Nearly all Afghan women wear modest garments that do not show or draw attention to their figures.

Most women in Afghanistan are Muslims. Under Islamic codes, the proper Muslim woman must always dress properly to avoid unwanted attention. Women tend to wear loose-fitting pants under knee-length skirts, making sure the definition of their legs is indistinguishable. Wearing a headscarf that covers the hair, neck and bosom is recommended for women when in public.

Prior to the fundamentalist Islamic Taliban rise to power in the late 1990s, wearing a veil was optional for Afghan women. During the Taliban regime, women were forced to adhere to a strict dress code that forbade any parts of their bodies, except for hands and eyes, from being visible in public. The traditional burqa, or chador, was required of all women in public. Since the Taliban regime was overthrown, the restrictions were lifted. However, as an Islamic nation, Muslim conventions for dress remain and Western-style clothing is not commonly seen.