Afghan women are now banned from gyms and even public baths, we learned Sunday from Taliban officials who recently announced their exclusion from the capital’s parks and gardens.
“Gyms are closed to women because their coaches are men and some (gyms) are mixed,” Vice and Vice Prevention Ministry spokesman Mohammad Akif Sadek Mohazir told AFP on Sunday. .
Public baths “hammams,” traditionally segregated for men and women, are also banned.
“Nowadays, every house has a bathroom, so women don’t have trouble washing,” he says.
A video clip circulating on social media – not immediately verified – shows a group of women behind the camera lamenting the ban on gyms. “This is a women’s gym. All the teachers and coaches are women,” laments one of them.
“You can’t ban us at all,” said the young woman, her voice breaking with emotion.
Although they have promised to be more liberal when they take power in August 2021, the Taliban have returned to the strictest interpretation of Islam that they had during their first spell in power (1996-2001), strongly restricting rights and freedoms. women
Secondary schools for girls were closed and they were ordered to wear the full veil. Excluded from most government jobs, women were also prevented from traveling alone outside their town. Earlier in the week, the Taliban announced that they no longer have the right to visit parks and gardens in Kabul.
Activists say the increasing restrictions on women are aimed at preventing them from gathering to organize opposition to the Taliban regime.
Small groups of women staged several flash protests in Kabul and other major cities, drawing the ire of Taliban officials. These meetings are usually brutally dispersed and female participants are arrested.
Earlier this month, the United Nations expressed “concern” after the Taliban disrupted a press conference held by a women’s organization in the capital. Participants were subjected to body searches and several people were arrested, along with the event organizer.