Afghanistan: Taliban also ban gyms and public baths for women
Gymnasiums and public baths are now also prohibited for Afghan women, we learned on Sunday from the Taliban authorities who had already recently announced their exclusion from parks and gardens in the capital.
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« The gyms are closed to women because their coaches were men and some (of the gyms) were mixed, » Mohammad Akif Sadeq Mohajir, spokesman for the ministry for the prevention of vice and vice, told AFP on Sunday. of the Promotion of Virtue.
He also added that the « hammams », public baths where traditionally men and women are separated, are also prohibited for the latter.
“At present, every house has a bathroom, so it is no problem for women” to wash, he added.
A video clip circulating on social media — which could not immediately be verified — shows a group of women with their backs to the camera, lamenting the ban on gyms. « It’s a women’s gym. The teachers and coaches are all women,” laments one of them.
« You can’t ban us from everything, » adds the young woman, her voice breaking with emotion.
Despite their promises to be more flexible when they return to power in August 2021, the Taliban have largely returned to the ultra-rigorous interpretation of Islam that marked their first spell in power (1996-2001), restricting very strongly the rights and freedoms of women.
Secondary schools for girls were closed and they ordered that they wear the full veil. Excluded from most public jobs, women are also prevented from traveling alone outside their town. At the start of the week, the Taliban also announced that they no longer had the right to visit Kabul’s parks and gardens.
Activists say the growing restrictions on women are aimed at preventing them from gathering to organize opposition to the Taliban regime.
Small groups of women have staged several flash protests in Kabul and other major cities, risking the ire of Taliban officials. These gatherings are usually brutally dispersed and female participants arrested.
Earlier this month, the United Nations expressed « concern » after the Taliban disrupted a press conference in the capital organized by a women’s organization. The participants were subjected to body searches and the organizer of the event as well as several other people were arrested.