Afghanistan: Women banned from amusement parks in Kabul

Afghan women were barred from entering amusement parks in Kabul on Wednesday after the Taliban’s morality ministry said there would be restrictions on women’s access to public parks.

A spokesman for the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (MPVPV) confirmed that women would have restricted access to the parks when asked by Reuters for comment, but did not respond to requests for further details. .

It was unclear to what extent the restrictions applied or how they affected an earlier MPVPV rule that said parks were to be segregated by gender and that certain days would be set aside for women.

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

At an amusement park in Kabul with attractions such as bumper cars and a Ferris wheel, Reuters witnesses saw several women being turned away by park officials, with Taliban operatives present watching the situation.

Masooma, a resident of Kabul who asked that only her name be published for security reasons and said she had been turned away with her grandson, added: “When a mother comes with her children, they are to be allowed to enter the park, because these children have not seen anything good… they have to play and have fun”.

Two amusement park operators who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue said they had been told by Taliban officials not to allow women into their parks.

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

The group has also come under fire for a U-turn on signs that it would open high schools for girls in March.

Western governments have said the group must reverse its course on women’s rights on any path to formal recognition of the Taliban government.

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

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