Sedi News Updates
The Taliban is banning women from using gyms in Afghanistan, an official in Kabul said Thursday, the latest crackdown by the religious group on women’s rights and freedoms since they took power more than a year ago. back
The Taliban overran the country last year, taking power in August 2021. They have banned girls from middle and high school, despite initial promises to the contrary, have restricted women from most of work areas, and ordered them to wear head to toe. . public clothing.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Culture and the West said the ban was being introduced because people were ignoring gender segregation orders and women were not wearing the required headscarf or hijab. Women are also banned from parks.
The ban on women using gyms and parks came this week, according to Mohammed Akef Mohajer, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Ministry of Virtues and the West.
The group has “done their best” over the past 15 months to close parks and gyms to women, mandate separate days of the week for male and female access or enforce gender segregation, he said.
“But, unfortunately, the orders were not obeyed and the rules were broken, and we had to close parks and gyms to women,” said Mohajer. “In most cases, we have seen men and women together in parks and, unfortunately, the hijab has not been seen. So we had to make another decision and for now we ordered all parks and gymnasiums to be closed to women. “
Taliban teams will begin monitoring centers to determine if women are still being exploited, he said.
A female personal trainer told The Associated Press that women and men did not exercise or train together before at the Kabul gym where she works.
“The Taliban are lying,” she insisted, speaking on condition of anonymity, for fear of reprisals. “We were training separately.
On Thursday, she said two men who claimed to be from the Ministry of Virtues and the Deputy Commander entered her gym and forced all the women to leave.
“The women wanted to protest about the gyms (closing) but the Taliban came and arrested them,” she said. “Now we don’t know if they are alive or dead.”
Kabul’s top Taliban-appointed police spokesman, Khalid Zadran, said he had no immediate information about women protesting the gym closure or arrests.
The UN special representative in Afghanistan for women, Alison Davidian, condemned the ban. “This is another example of the Taliban’s constant and systematic elimination of women from public life,” she said. “We demand from the Taliban all rights and freedoms for women and girls reset.”
Hardliners appear to be in control of the Taliban-led administration, which is struggling to rule and remains internationally isolated. An economic downturn has pushed millions more Afghans into poverty and hunger as the flow of foreign aid has slowed.
Kabul-based women’s rights activist Sodaba Nazhand said the ban on gyms, parks, work and school would leave many women wondering what was left for them in Afghanistan.
“It’s not just a restriction for women, but also for children,” she said. “Children go to the park with their mothers, now children are banned from going to the park. Yes It’s so sad and unfair.”