In a video shared on Sunday, the Taliban’s acting minister of virtue and vice, Mohammad Khaled Hanafi, announced he would forbid the entry of women to the popular Band-e-Amir park amid Afghanistan’s deteriorating track record for women’s rights under the regime.
The minister argued the move, a further clampdown on the presence of women in public spaces, was because they were not observing the proper way to wear the hijab while coming to the public park.
“Going sightseeing is not a must for women,” the minister can be heard saying in the video.
“Can someone please explain why this restriction on women visiting Bande Amir is necessary to comply with Sharia and Afghan culture?” asked UN special rapporteur for Afghan human rights Richard Bennett on Twitter/X.
The Taliban have taken away the essential rights of women, said Heather Barr, director of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch.
“This latest order by the Taliban instructing women not to go to Band-e-Amir is part of a pattern where the Taliban are step by step and quickly taking away from women everything that they need for their lives,” she said.
“What explanation can you think of, other than cruelty?” asked Ms Barr, while sharing a news report on the issue on Twitter/X.
“Taliban banned women from Band-e-Amir National Park in Afghanistan. Just when you believe the Taliban can’t go any further, they unveil a new measure underscoring their war against women’s existence,” Omar Haidari, a human rights activist, tweeted.
Mr Khaled Hanafi, the Taliban minister, said security forces will be deployed to prevent women from entering the park.
The de facto rulers of the hardline Islamist regime have already banned women from other public spaces like parks and gyms, citing the same argument of “improper” wearing of the hijab and gender segregation rules.