Taliban Bans Women From Visiting Band-e-Amir National Park

Afghan former MP Mariam Solaimankhil has shared a poem on X she had written about the ban and wrote "We'll return, I'm sure of it"

Taliban Bans Women From Visiting Band-e-Amir National Park

The Taliban government has banned women from visiting the Band-e-Amir National Park in Bamiyan province.

Afghanistan's acting minister of virtue and vice, Mohammad Khaled Hanafi, said women had not been observing hijab inside the park.

He called on religious clerics and security agencies to forbid women from entering until a solution was found.

It is a popular destination for families, and the ban on women attending will prevent many from being able to enjoy the park.

Unesco describes the park as a "naturally created group of lakes with special geological formations and structures, as well as natural and unique beauty".

However, Hanafi said going to the park to sightsee "was not obligatory", Afghan agency Tolo News reported.

Religious clerics in Bamiyan said the women who were visiting the park and not following the rules were visitors to the area.

"There are complaints about lack of hijab or bad hijab; these are not Bamiyan residents. They come here from other places," Sayed Nasrullah Waezi, head of the Bamiyan Shia Ulema Council, told Tolo News.

Afghan former MP Mariam Solaimankhil shared a poem she had written on X, formerly known as Twitter, about the ban and wrote: "We'll return, I'm sure of it".

Fereshta Abbasi, of Human Rights Watch, noted women had been banned from visiting the park on Women's Equality Day and wrote it was a "total disrespect to the women of Afghanistan".

Meanwhile, Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, asked why stopping women from visiting Band-e-Amir "is necessary to comply with Sharia and Afghan culture?".

The Taliban have a history of implementing bans on women doing certain activities on what they insist is a temporary basis, including preventing them from attending school in December 2022.

The ban on visiting the Band-E-Amir National Park is the latest in a long list of activities that women have been prevented from doing since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021.

Most recently, the Taliban ordered hair and beauty salons in Afghanistan to shut down, and in mid-July, they stopped women from sitting the national university entrance exams.