Taliban ban women from going to parks and gyms

The Taliban banned women from parks and gyms in Kabul, after the Taliban Ministry of Morality announced new restrictions.

A Ministry spokesman confirmed that women’s access to the parks would be restricted when Reuters He asked for comment but did not respond to requests to provide more details.

It was not clear how widely the restrictions were applied or how they affected an earlier Morality Ministry rule that said parks, including outdoor spaces, must be segregated by gender and certain days would be reserved for women.

Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the hardline Taliban Islamic administration, did not respond to a request for comment.

At a Kabul amusement park containing rides like bumper cars and a Ferris wheel, witnesses to Reuters they observed that the park officials turned away several women, with Taliban agents present observing the situation.

Masooma, a Kabul resident who asked that only her first name be published for security reasons, took her granddaughter to visit the park, but was turned away.

“When a mother comes with her children, you have to let them into the park, because these children have not seen anything good… they have to play and be entertained,” she told Reuters. “I urged them a lot, but they did not allow us to enter the park, and now we are going back home.”

Two park operators, who asked to remain anonymous to speak about a sensitive issue, said the Taliban officials had told them not to allow women into their parks.

Since they took over Afghanistan last year, the Islamist Taliban have said that women should not leave home without a male relative and should cover their faces, although some women in urban centers ignore the rule and some women have been allowed to work in government offices.

Western governments have said the group needs to reverse course on women’s rights for any path to formal recognition of Taliban rule.

The Taliban say they respect women’s rights according to their interpretation of Islamic law. (Reuters)