Afghan woman bares legs in Kabul, stirring outrage and curiosity

Michael Walsh

A young woman bared her legs while walking through the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, recently — stunning onlookers.

The mystery woman ditched her burqa in the ultraconservative country, which has plenty of rules about women keeping their bodies completely covered while in public.

Afghan journalist Hayat Ensafi took several photos of the woman wearing a midlength dress — evoking scandal in Afghanistan and curiosity throughout the world.

"I was shocked," he told BBC News. "I knew I had to catch this special moment because I never saw a woman here walking down the streets like this."

After snapping her picture, Ensafi tried to talk to the woman, but he could not keep up.

"She walked very fast and didn't talk to me at all," he said.

Ensafi shared the picture on Facebook, where thousands of people shared and commented on it.

Since it went viral, many people have been speculating about the woman’s intention for showing her legs in public.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Afghan women wore veils, but short skirts were still relatively common.

Women’s rights suffered toward the end of the 20th century under Taliban rule, and some of that era’s severe dress codes have lingered.