Middle East

'The whole city is shocked': bare legs spark controversy in Kabul

(Hayat Ensafi)

Images of a woman walking through Kabul with bare legs has sparked controversy across Afghanistan.

In many cities around the world, this image of a young woman dressed in a long coat with her hair tied back would be unremarkable.

In Kabul, it has sparked a sensation -- or a scandal, depending on who you ask.

The unknown woman's bare legs attracted the attention of local journalist Hayat Ensafi, who told the BBC his images have since been discussed by thousands of Afghanis, shocked by what they've seen.

"I was shocked," he said. 

"I knew I had to catch this special moment because I never saw a woman here walking down the streets like this."

He added that the woman wouldn't stop when he tried to speak with her. It's not known whether she intended to spark a controversy or whether her actions were motivated by something else. 

In the 1960s and 70s, it was common to see women in bare legs and even mini-skirts in Afghanistan's capital.

When the Taliban took over the country in 1996, there was a crackdown on women dressing in a way considered immoral.

Taliban rule ended in 2001, but bare legs are still a rare sight in the nation's capital.


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