Afghanistan: Women stopped entering amusement parks in Kabul

Afghan women were barred from entering amusement parks in Kabul on Wednesday after the Taliban’s Ministry of Morals said there would be restrictions on women entering public parks.

A spokesman for the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtues and Prevention of Vice (MPPVV) confirmed that women would be restricted from entering parks when asked by Reuters for comment, but did not respond to requests for more information.

It was not clear how broad the restrictions applied or how they affected an earlier rule from the MPPVV that said parks had to be segregated by gender and certain days would be set aside for women.

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

At a Kabul amusement park that includes rides such as bumper cars and a Ferris wheel, Reuters witnesses saw several women being turned away by park officials, as Taliban representatives were present monitoring the situation.

Masooma, a Kabul resident who asked that only her first name be released for security reasons and said she had been turned away with her grandson, added: “When a mother brings their children, they must be allowed to enter the park, because this children haven’t seen anything good … they have to play and have fun.”

Two theme park operators, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss the sensitive issue, said they had been told by the Taliban not to allow women into their parks.

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

The group has also drawn criticism for a U-turn on signs it would open a girls’ secondary school in March.

Western governments have said the group needs to reverse its policies on women’s rights for any path toward 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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