Here’s some news for Nicolas Sarkozy. While the French president has begun a battle against the burqa in France, the famous blue garment that covers women from head to toe is losing favour back in its stronghold Afghanistan. In Herat, burqa seller Nehmatullah Yusefy says sales have dropped 50 percent since the Taliban were toppled in 2001 and he says he will soon need to start stocking other styles of Islamic dress to make up for lost profits. (Photo right: Baghdad woman in chador, 12 Nov 2008/Mahmoud Raouf)
“I think, God willing, the sales of burqas will decrease, then I will sell chador namaz and even maybe mantau chalvar,” Yusefy said, standing behind the counter of his small outlet on a strip of burqa shops in the western city’s main market.
Mantau chalvar is a long coat worn over trousers and it is popular with women in the capital Kabul, who are comparatively more free to dress as they choose. It is always worn with a scarf covering the head that is tied firmly under the chin. (Photo left: Kabul woman in mantau chalvar, 28 June 2009/Ahmad Masood)