Taliban Ban Women From Entering Public Parks And Funfairs In Kabul

In yet another diktat after forming the government in Afghanistan last year, Taliban has banned women from entering public parks and funfairs in the capital, AFP reported. The ban comes months after Taliban ordered to segregate access to parks according to gender. 

“For the past 15 months, we tried our best to arrange and sort it out, and even specified the days. But still, in some places, in fact, we must say in many places – the rules were violated.” AFP quoted Mohammad Akif Sadeq Mohajir, spokesperson for the Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue, as saying. 

He added, “There was mixing (of men and women), hijab was not observed, that’s why the decision has been taken for now.” 

The new rule was introduced earlier this week, which further reduces the public space accessibility of Afghan women. They are already banned from travelling without a male escort and are forced to wear hijab whenever they step out of their homes. These are in addition to the curtailment of girls’ secondary education in Afghanistan. The secondary schools have been closed for over a year now. 

Women and park operators expressed displeasure over the new order. A woman told AFP that they should at least have a place to have fun and enjoy. “There are no schools, no work…we should at least have a place to have fun. We are just bored and fed-up with being at home all day, our minds are tired,” she said as she watched her kids playing in a park through a restaurant.  

Another woman, who came with her sisters to spend the day in park, said, “We were very excited … we are tired of staying at home.” She said that it is allowed to go out and visit parks in Islam. “When you have no freedom in your own country, then what does it mean to live here?” Rihana further said. 

The order has also caused concern for businessmen running the parks in Kabul. They now fear a sudden decline in their business. Habib Jan Zazai, who runs a park complex, fears he may have to close the business into which he has pumped in $11 million, and which employs more than 250 people. “Without women, the children will not come alone,” he said. 

He feared that this decree could have a massive impact on the revenue collection. He said, “A government is run by taxes. If an investor is not paying tax, then how can they run?” 

The park, one of the few attractions in the city, would accommodate hundreds of visitors when women brought their children for family gatherings on Fridays and public holidays.

Mohammad Tamim, a teacher at a madrassa, called the ban “bad news”. “Every human psychologically needs to be entertained. Muslims need to be entertained – especially after 20 years of war,” Tamim said.

(With inputs from The Guardian)