Nahla Abdel Moneim
The ruling Afghan Taliban movement continues to pursue repressive policies against women, as it recently banned them from visiting parks for an indefinite period.
The Taliban justified its decision to prevent women from visiting the Band-e Amir National Park, located in Bamiyan province in the center of the country, by saying that it is not necessary for women to visit the park.
Taliban Virtue and Vice Minister Mohammad Khalid Hanafi said at the end of August that Afghan women could no longer walk in the park because they did not adhere to the correct rules for wearing the Islamic headscarf in accordance with the legal visions of the movement.
Taliban tyranny against Afghan women
This is not the first time that the Taliban has prevented women from hiking since it came to power in August 2021. On November 10, 2022, Molvi Mohammad Sadiq Akif, spokesman for the Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Taliban government, stated that the movement had decided to prevent women from going to public parks without the presence of a mahram (male guardian), with the publication of a schedule specifying when Afghan women could visit the parks of the capital, Kabul, on only three days a week as determined by the movement.
At the time, Akif said that the Taliban made this decision because they noticed mixing between men and women in public parks while not adhering to the rules of Islamic law, according to the movement’s vision, which are the reasons that the movement uses with every arbitrary decision against women.
Chain of restrictions against women
After the Taliban came to power, it adopted an open media discourse in which it promoted its respect for the right of Afghan women to work and education and to choose the specializations they wish to join, but the movement soon returned to its violent ideology against women.
Preventing girls from university education was among the most prominent repressive decisions taken by the Taliban against women. At the end of 2022, the movement decided to limit university education to males, which was met with international as well as religious disapproval, as Al-Azhar expressed its dissatisfaction with this decision, which contradicts the true religion.
Before this decision, the Taliban took other decisions that seemed to be preliminary to the final ban. It prevented girls from enrolling in specific educational specializations such as media, journalism, engineering, and others, and allowed only literary and linguistic specializations in addition to medicine and health care, before announcing that girls would be prohibited from taking medical school exams after their long years of study, ending their dreams in this field as well.
In January 2023, the United Nations issued a report in which it accused the Taliban of forcing women working in the prosecution and the judiciary to stop working, threatening them with violence, and preventing them from attending courts unless they were a party to a conflict.
Taliban’s problem with components of the nation state
Regarding the restrictions imposed on women by the Taliban, Ahmed Ban, an Egyptian researcher specialized in extremist organizations, said that the idea of giving women a role in public life or legal professions, or even granting them the right to education, is a crisis for the Taliban, adding that there are understandings currently taking place within the corridors of the Taliban that Afghan women are content with learning to read, write, and do some handicrafts only, which is a backward view from his point of view that many societies have overcome for decades. He pointed out that these ideas are governed by a tribal ideology more than a religious one.
Ban added in a statement to the Reference that the Taliban has a problem with the components of the modern nation state, with all the values or institutions it carries, pointing out that the values of citizenship and equality between women and men are absent from the movement’s leaders.
He pointed out that threats against judges in general affect the justice system in Afghanistan, stressing that the Taliban’s practices threaten the values of the modern state, justice and equality among people, and this will have a wide impact on the turmoil in the country.