Unsplash/Mohammad Mehdi Rezai

Taliban bans women from visiting Band-e-Amir National Park in Bamyan

The Taliban has banned women from visiting the Band-e-Amir National Park in central Bamyan province of Afghanistan.

The Taliban Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, said in his speech in Bamyan on Saturday that the group is working on a procedure that would allow women to visit the park in the future. However, until the procedure is finalized, women will not be allowed to enter the park.

Hanafi called on the elders and the Taliban security forces in Bamyan province to cooperate in enforcing the ban and to prevent women from entering the park.

In his speech, Hanafi also criticized the people for not obeying the Taliban’s orders and women for not observing the hijab.

Band-e-Amir National Park, a chain of six stunning blue lakes in the mountainous desert of central Afghanistan, was established in April 2009 to protect and promote its natural beauty. The lakes were created by natural dams high in the Hindu Kush mountains and attract thousands of domestic and foreign visitors every year.

The Taliban previously confined women to their homes during their first rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. When the group regained power in August 2021, it imposed a ban on girls attending secondary schools.

In December 2022, the restrictions were further extended to deny women and girls access to university education and work for NGOs.

Despite significant pressure from human rights organizations, aid providers, and Islamic countries to lift these bans, the Taliban has continued imposing additional restrictions on women’s rights. The prohibitions now extend to women visiting amusement parks, traveling without a mahram (male guardian), and attending public baths.