The Taliban prevented Afghan women from accessing parks and gardens in Kabul, one of the last spaces of freedom they had in the face of severe restrictions imposed by the Islamic fundamentalist regime.
Earlier in the week, the Taliban asked those responsible for parks and gardens to close their doors to women, AFP journalists in the capital found.
To date, different hours and days have been installed so that men and women do not intersect.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice justified Wednesday to AFP that “in many places the rules were violated,” Muhammad Akef Sadeq Mahjis.
“There was mixing and the hijab was not respected. This is the reason for making this decision.”
She sits alone in a Kabul restaurant overlooking a city park, watching her children play through the glass but she can’t join them.
“There is no school, no work. We should at least have a place to entertain ourselves,” the mother told AFP, upset at the park’s ban.
Since their return to power in August 2021 after twenty years of war and the withdrawal of US forces, the Taliban have imposed a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam.
The authorities did not stop restricting women’s freedoms: they are forced to wear the full veil, they cannot attend secondary education, and they are also prohibited from traveling alone outside their area.
The gardens were one of the last spaces of freedom.
“We need a place to have fun, and our mental health is at stake. We have enough to stay home all day, we are tired of all this,” lonely desperate, without work, like her husband.
Tired of being at home
At the next table, 21-year-old Rehana shares the same grief. “We were very excited about the idea of coming to the park. We are tired of being at home,” says the young woman who enjoys ice cream with her sisters.
Rehana, a student of Islamic law, is confused by this new procedure. “Obviously Islam allows you to go out and visit parks,” he says.
Several kilometers away, at the top of Kabul, the ferris wheel in the most important park in Afghanistan is paralyzed. Also hammocks, buggies and other recreational attractions of the complex.
Only a handful of men walk the silent streets of Zazai Park, which was established more than six years ago. Before the Taliban restrictions, it could accommodate up to 15,000 visitors per day on weekends.
His co-manager does not understand this decision condemning him to terminate the business in which he has invested $11 million and employs about 250 people.
“Without women, children will not come alone,” says Habib Jan Zazai. “I wish the Taliban would give us compelling reasons,” he said wistfully.
“In Islam you are allowed to be happy. This man in his thirties says: ‘Islam does not allow people to be imprisoned in their homes’.”
With these decisions, investors will be discouraged. And without tax-paying entrepreneurs, how can they operate?
A teacher at a Quranic school in Kandahar city, a stronghold of the Taliban, Muhammad Tamim, 20, denounced “this bad news” while having tea with friends in the park.
He defends this, saying: “Every person psychologically needs to enjoy and study … Muslims need pleasure, especially after 20 years of war.”