The Taliban on Monday barred entry of families and women into restaurants with gardens or green spaces in Herat province, Afghanistan, reported Fox News.
The decision came after religious clerics complained of mixing genders in such places. Afghan officials said that the curbs have been brought in place because of gender mixing or because women allegedly are not wearing the hijab. So far, the ban is applicable to restaurants with green spaces in the Herat province only.
The outdoor dining ban only applies to establishments in Herat, where such premises remain open to men. 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, reported Fox News.
He said it applied only to restaurants with green areas, such as a park, where men and women could meet. “After repeated complaints from scholars and ordinary people, we set limits and closed these restaurants.”
Azizurrahman Al Muhajir, who is head of the Vice and Virtue directorate in Herat, said, “It was like a park but they named it a restaurant and men and women were together. Thank God it has been corrected now. Also, our auditors are observing all the parks where men and women go.”
It was the latest in a slew of restrictions imposed by the Taliban since they took power in August 2021. They have shut girls out of classrooms beyond sixth grade and women from universities, most types of employment, including jobs at the United Nations. They are also banned from public spaces such as parks and gyms.
Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) bounded aid to the Taliban with the removal of the ban on Afghan working women, reported Tolo News.EU said that the ban on women working for UN organizations violates international law and that aid to Afghanistan cannot be delivered regardless of gender, aid activities will be reconsidered.
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, the situation of women in the country has only got worse. Women in the country are prohibited from leadership posts, and not allowed to work as well as travel unless accompanied by a male companion.
The Taliban promised to reopen all schools on March 23 this year, but, instead, they closed secondary institutions for girls on that day.
There is still no word on when or if these schools will reopen or if the ban is indefinite.