All-cloaking Afghan burqa faces challenge on two fronts: Western dress codes, Chinese imports

April 16, 2013 6:54 AM

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All-cloaking Afghan burqa faces challenge on two fronts: Western dress codes, Chinese imports

KABUL, Afghanistan – The homespun Afghan burqa is under siege from east and west these days — cut-price competition from China, and Western influences that are leading many urban women to exchange the full-body cloak for a simple headscarf.

The decline is most noticeable in Kabul, the capital, where women began joining the work force and adopting Western dress soon after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that ousted the puritanical Taliban. Demand for burqas appears strongest in the provinces, where family pressures and the power of conservat...

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