Taliban bars women from outdoor restaurant dining in Afghan province

Now Taliban bars women from outdoor dining at restaurants in crackdown on gender mixing in Afghan province

  • Official confirmed women and families banned from restaurant gardens in Herat
  • Latest crackdown on women’s rights follows complaints over genders mixing
  • Since Taliban swept to power, woman have had several restrictions imposed 

The Taliban have banned families and women from outdoor dining at restaurants in an Afghanistan province, adding to a slew of restrictions imposed since they swept to power.

An official confirmed today that women and families will be restricted from restaurants with gardens and green spaces in the northwestern province of Herat.

The latest crackdown on women’s rights follows complaints from religious scholars and members of the public about men and women mixing together in such places, he said.

When the Taliban came to power in August 2021 amid the US pull-out from Afghanistan, the fundamentalist group claimed there would not be a return to the hardline policies of their predecessors who ruled from 1996 – 2001.

However, in the months that followed, women’s rights were gradually rolled back as latest generation of Taliban hardliners ratcheted up restrictions.

The Taliban have banned families and women from outdoor dining at restaurants in the Herat province of Afghanistan. Pictured: A restaurant in a park closed by the Taliban 

Since sweeping to power, the Taliban have imposed several restrictions on women. Pictured: Taliban fighters mark the first anniversary of their return to power in August last year

Since taking over, they have shut girls out of classrooms beyond sixth grade, banned women from universities, most types of employment, including jobs at the United Nations. They are also prohibited from public spaces such as parks and gyms.

READ MORE: Now Taliban outlaws contraception: Birth control medicines and devices branded a ‘Western conspiracy’ as sales are banned in major cities 

Last month, the Taliban even begun enforcing blanket bans on all forms of contraception in capital Kabul and fourth largest city Mazar-e-Sharif, according to Afghan media.

Authorities say the archaic restrictions are in place because of gender mixing or because women are allegedly not wearing hijabs or Islamic headscarfs correctly.

The outdoor dining ban only applies to establishments in Herat, where men are not faced with the same restrictions.

Baz Mohammad Nazir, a deputy official from the Ministry of Vice and Virtue’s directorate in Herat, denied media reports that all restaurants were off limits to families and women, dismissing them as propaganda.

It applied only to restaurants with green areas, such as a park, where men and women could meet, he said. ‘After repeated complaints from scholars and ordinary people, we set limits and closed these restaurants.’

He also denied reports that sales of DVDs of foreign films, TV shows and music are banned in the province, saying that business owners were advised against selling this material because it contradicted Islamic values.

Women in Afghanistan have been indefinitely banned from receiving a university education

Girls were also excluded from returning to secondary school in Afghanistan, after the country’s new Taliban rulers ordered only boys and male teachers back to the classroom

Shopkeepers who did not follow through on the advice eventually saw their shops closed, Nazir added. 

He also denied local media reports that internet cafes have shut down in Herat, but said that gaming arcades were now off-limits to children because of unsuitable content. 

Some games insulted the Kaaba, the cube-shaped structure in the Great Mosque at Mecca toward which Muslims turn when praying, and other Islamic symbols.

‘Internet cafes, where students learn and use for their studies, are necessary and we have allowed them,’ Nazir said.

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