International organizations criticize the Taliban government after it has denied women entry to a national park in Afghanistan for not wearing the mandatory headscarf or hijab.
The de facto government prohibited the entry of women to a national park in Afghanistan, considering that many of the visitors did not wear the mandatory veil or hijab and that tourism is not a right, a measure that provoked criticism from international organizations on Monday. “Not content with depriving girls and women of education, employment and free movement, the Taliban also wants to take away parks and sports and now even nature,” Heather Barr, associate director of Women’s Rights, denounced in a statement.
New ban for women under Taliban rule
The Taliban prohibited women’s access to the Band-e-Amir national park, located in the central province of Bamyan, last Saturday for not respecting the rules, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, announced to the media, after a meeting with local religious leaders. “The women and our sisters cannot go to Band-e-Amir until we reach an agreement in principle. Security agencies, elders and inspectors should take action on this. Going for sightseeing is not a duty,” he said. Hanafi at the end of the meeting, according to the Afghan outlet ToloNews.
This new veto, which adds to a long list of restrictions adopted by the Taliban since it came to power against women, is due to the fact that “there are complaints about the lack of hijab or about the misuse of the hijab” in the park , explained the head of the Bamyan Shiite Ulama Council, Sayed Nasrullah Waezi.
The international response to the new veto
The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, yesterday expressed his discomfort with the measure on the social network X (formerly Twitter), asking why this restriction “is necessary to comply with Sharia law and Afghan culture.” .
Band-e-Amir is made up of half a dozen lakes “naturally created with special geological formations and structures, as well as unique natural beauty,” according to UNESCO, and was the first national park to be established in Afghanistan, in 2009.
Since the takeover of Kabul two years ago, the Taliban have severely curtailed women’s rights and have removed them almost completely from public life, preventing them from accessing secondary and university education, or from working in most public spaces with a few exceptions. In addition, the authorities have issued restrictions that force them to go out on the streets with their faces covered, segregation by sex or be accompanied on long trips by a male family member.
The reality that Afghans live today is increasingly similar to the time of the first regime between 1996 and 2001, when, based on a rigid interpretation of Islam and its strict social code known as Pashtunwali, they confined women to the home.