Afghan men in burqas ask for more rights for women in the country ahead of International Women's Day 2015
Afghan men in burqas ask for more rights for women in the country ahead of International Women's Day 2015Twitter

Ahead of the International Women's Day 2015, a few Afghan men campaigned to draw attention to women's rights in the nation by walking down the streets of Kabul wearing sky-blue burqas.

The group of around 20 men, whose blue burqas represented the repressive 1990s Taliban era in Afghanistan, were carrying posters that read: "Don't tell women what to wear, you should cover your eyes."

The burqa-clad men are associated with a local group, Afghan Peace Volunteers. They say their rally was aimed at highlighting the situation of women in the country ahead of the International Women's Day.

The group, however, claimed that unlike the government authorities and civil servants who discuss the issue sitting inside high-profile hotels, they wanted to take the campaign on women's rights to the streets of Afghanistan as that's exactly where the problems are.

"Our authorities will be celebrating International Women's Day in big hotels, but we wanted to take it to the streets," 29-year-old activist Basir told Dawn. "One of the best ways to understand how women feel is to walk around and wear a burqa."

The unique protest march by the Afghan men in burqas, however, seems to have failed to have its desired effect on the local residents, as many of them laughed at the initiative.

Many like traffic policeman Javed Haidari, 24, were slightly annoyed as they considered it as a pointless protest. "All of the women in my family wear burqas. I wouldn't let them go out without one," Hairdari reportedly said.

Even for teenagers like 16-year-old Medina Ali, who wears a burqa that only shows her eyes, a life without such restrictions seems ludicrous.

"We don't need anyone to defend our rights.This is just a foreign project to create a bad image for the burqa and Afghanistan. They're trying to make those of us who cover our faces feel bad," the young girl reportedly said.

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