Taliban Bans Women from Amusement Parks and Gyms

An Afghan woman exercises at a gym in Kabul on October 5, 2011. Women's rights in Afg
ADEK BERRY/AFP via Getty Images

The Taliban regime in Afghanistan issued an edict on Friday banning women from amusement parks and gymnasiums, purportedly because they were not obeying the extremist government’s orders to wear hijabs and remain segregated from men in public areas.

“Unfortunately, the orders were not obeyed and the rules were violated, and we had to close parks and gyms for women. In most cases, we have seen both men and women together in parks and, unfortunately, the hijab was not observed,” explained Mohammed Akef Mohajer, spokesman for the Taliban’s Ministry of Virtue and Vice. 

Mohajer argued the Taliban deserved credit because it “tried its best” to let women use public areas, offering such helpful measures as allowing women in the parks on special segregated days when men were kept out.

Afghanistan’s Khaama Press reported on Thursday that women were immediately turned away from amusement parks in the capital city of Kabul, including the Habibullah Zazai private park, where managers informed female visitors they had received orders from the Ministry of Virtue and Vice to keep them out.

This photograph taken on November 9, 2022, shows a poster reading in Pashto, “Dear sisters! Hijab and veil are your dignity and are in your benefit in this world and in the hereafter,” at the Habibullah Zazai Park on the outskirts of Kabul. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Reuters correspondents witnessed several women being denied entry to a Kabul amusement park, with “Taliban agents present observing the situation.”

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported some attractions that normally accommodate hundreds of visitors per day ground to a halt, with only a few disinterested men rambling through the premises. Women sat forlornly in cafes and watched their children play in parks they were no longer permitted to enter.

“There are no schools, no work … we should at least have a place to have fun. We are just bored and fed-up with being at home all day, our minds are tired,” one woman sighed.

“Obviously, in Islam, it is allowed to go out and visit parks. When you have no freedom in your own country, then what does it mean to live here?” another asked in frustration.

One of the owners of the Zazai amusement park told AFP he would probably have to shut down, dismiss his 250 employees, and lose his investments because “without women, the children will not come alone.”

Al-Jazeera quoted a female personal trainer who angrily accused Taliban officials of “lying” about women training alongside men after a pair of Taliban thugs entered her gym and ordered all of her female customers to leave.

“The women wanted to protest about the gyms, but the Taliban came and arrested them. Now we don’t know if they’re alive or dead,” the trainer said.

“This is yet another example of the Taliban’s continued and systematic erasure of women from public life. We call on the Taliban to reinstate all rights and freedoms for women and girls,” U.N. Special Representative for Women Alison Davidian said in response to the ban.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.