On March 2, the Ulema Council, the top religious body in Afghanistan, issued a statement calling for stricter restrictions on the freedom of women in the country.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai subsequently expressed his support for the statement
, although he maintained that the statement was aimed at protecting the standing of women.
Others disagree, saying the statement recalls the edicts against women's freedom issued by the Taliban.
In the wake of the Ulema Council statement, Voice of America's Afghan Service spoke with Sima Samar, the chairwoman of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, about her concerns about basic freedoms afforded to women in Afghanistan: