Taliban restrict women’s access to ‘women’s park’ Escalating repression in Afghanistan


The Taliban on Thursday, August 11, issued a new set of restrictions restricting women’s access to the “Ladies’ Park” in Afghanistan’s Herat province, broadly adding to their history of gender discrimination and segregation of women. According to the new decree, women are only allowed to enter the park at the times set by the Taliban. The Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has ordered women to walk in parks only on legally specified days and times.

The move to promote discrimination came a month after the organization-led interim government approved a decree banning men and women from visiting an amusement park in Kabul on the same day. “The Taliban have had nothing to do since they took power but oppress women and they have locked all of us women at home,” said Asila Misbah, a Herat-based women’s rights activist quoted by ANI. To further their stifling enforcement of Islamic law, the Taliban also closed public restaurants in the Afghan city of Herat.

“I used to eat in restaurants with my family most of the time, but now I can’t spend an hour outside with my family due to Taliban restrictions on women. Everything we do happens in an uncertain way and we even fear retribution although we proceed cautiously,” added Misbah.

Meanwhile, in southern Afghanistan’s Zabul province, the Taliban banned women from attending wedding ceremonies and threatened to punish men for violating the policy. This is because women’s rights in Afghanistan have been least of concern to the Taliban since they took over Kabul after the US left. Despite promising a moderate term in office, the radical group has only chained women to their homes and barred all educational and professional opportunities.

In particular, it has been almost a year since the Taliban regime banned secondary education for girls and prevented women from pursuing employment. In addition, Islamic clerics have also restricted women’s access to seek justice in cases of gender-based violence.

Women express concerns about new decree

The stricter interpretation of Islamic law triggered protests in the capital Kabul in March. Women took to the streets bemoaning the decree banning access to social places like parks and malls. The verdict also drew worldwide condemnation amid existing criticism of restricting girls’ fundamental right to education above sixth grade. Aside from that, the regime has imposed a plethora of restrictions on the media and arbitrarily detained critics and perceived opponents, adding to the list of abuses since the overhaul last August.

(Image: AP)


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