News ID: 103616
Publish Date : 13 June 2022 - 21:27

KABUL (AFP) – Dozens of Afghan women in thick green shawls were married off in an austere mass wedding in Kabul on Monday, in a ceremony attended by hundreds of guests and Taliban members.
Marriage is a costly affair in deeply impoverished Afghanistan, traditionally involving huge dowries, expensive gifts and lavish parties.
Historically, couples from families unable to foot the bill have sometimes opted to pool their resources in low-cost large scale marriages.
Monday’s ceremony hitching 70 couples was one of the largest recently witnessed in Afghanistan, currently in economic freefall since the return of the Taliban.
“Today, no young man wants to bear the burden of an expensive wedding,” said groom Ebadullah Niazai, who had waited eight years to be married.
“I have no job. We were short of money and so we decided to marry at a mass wedding ceremony,” said 22 year-old groom Esmatullah Bashardost.
Bashardost, sporting a traditional Afghan cap, said his wedding would likely be the most “happy day” of his life.
However celebrations were dramatically dampened by frigid restrictions the Taliban have imposed on social life.
Before they seized power in August weddings were riotously colorful affairs marked with singing and dancing.
On Monday the brides and grooms were kept separate throughout the ceremony.
Guests of opposite sexes were separated by around a dozen Taliban militants patrolling with weapons, and the only entertainment was poetry recitations and speeches by charity organizers of the event.
Journalists were not allowed to speak to the brides, who wore crisp white gowns under their concealing shawls, but were permitted to photograph and film them.
A red and white wedding cake was produced for each couple, but was placed in front of the men only, who wore traditional white shalwar kameez.

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