In another regressive move, The Taliban have banned women from visiting one of Afghanistan’s most popular national parks, BBC reported. Afghanistan’s acting minister of virtue and vice, Mohammad Khaled Hanafi, said women have not been observing the proper way to wear the hijab while visiting the park.
“Going sightseeing is not a must for women,” said Hanafi as he urged security organizations and religious leaders to prohibit women from entering until a solution was found.
”There are complaints about lack of hijab or bad hijab, these are not Bamiyan residents. They come here from other places,” Sayed Nasrullah Waezi, head of the Bamiyan Shia Ulema Council told Tolo news.
Established in April 2009, Band-e-Amir National Park is Afghanistan’s first national park and remains a popular tourist spot. UNESCO describes the park as a “naturally created group of lakes with special geological formations and structure, as well as natural and unique beauty”.
The decision has raised concerns among human rights advocates. ”Not content with depriving girls and women of education, employment, and free movement, the Taliban also want to take from them parks and sport and now even nature, as we see from this latest ban on women visiting Band-e-Amir,” said Heather Barr, the associate women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch.
“Step by step the walls are closing in on women as every home becomes a prison,” she added.
UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan wrote on X, ”Can someone please explain why this restriction on women visiting Band-e-Amir is necessary to comply with sharia and Afghan culture?”
— UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett (@SR_Afghanistan) August 27, 2023
Despite promising a softer rule when they seized power, the Taliban have ratcheted up restrictions on all aspects of women’s lives, ignoring international outrage. A few months back, they barred entry of families and women into restaurants with gardens or green spaces in Herat province, Afghanistan, reported Fox News.
Women in the country are also prohibited from leadership posts, banned from university and secondary education, and not allowed to work as well as travel unless accompanied by a male companion. Many public places, including bathhouses, gyms, and parks, have also been made off-limits for women.