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Afghan women once worked in this popular national park. Now they are not even allowed to visit | cnn


Afghanistan’s Band-e-Amir National Park was known to have employed the First female park ranger. Now women won’t even be allowed to visit, let alone work there, as the Taliban deepens its repressive rule over the country.

Afghan Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, announced on Saturday that women will no longer be allowed to visit the popular park, located in the central province of Bamyan, one of the poorest and least developed regions. from the country.

Established in 2019 by the local Afghan government in collaboration with several international agencies, including USAID and the United Nations Development Program, the park was considered an oasis of peace with deep blue lakes surrounded by mountains.

Heather Barr, associate director for women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Monday that the ban shows how “walls are closing in on women” inside Afghanistan.

“Not content with depriving girls and women of education, jobs and free movement, the Taliban also want to take away parks and sports and now even nature, as we see in this latest ban on women visiting Band- e-Amir”. she said.

“Step by step, the walls are closing in on women as each home becomes a prison.”

CNN talks to Afghan women about life after two years of Taliban rule

The Taliban cast a long and conspicuous shadow over Bamiyan province. Home to a sizeable Shiite Muslim minority, it was the site of horrible massacres during the civil war of the 1990s and the subsequent rise of the Taliban.

It was also the center of a thriving Buddhist civilization in the fourth and fifth centuries. But in March 2001, the Taliban destroyed two huge Buddha statues in Bamiyan that had stood intact for more than 1,500 years, saying they were idols that violated Islam. .

Since he regained control of the country in August 2021, in the midst of the crisis in the United States chaotic, controversial retreat, the Taliban have rolled back decades of human rights gains. And with bans on most work and study, women are largely confined to their homes.

In Afghanistan, “there is no more freedom for women,” said Mahbouba Seraj, an Afghan women’s rights activist and 2023 Nobel Peace Prize nominee. he said earlier this month.

“Women in Afghanistan are slowly being erased from society, from life, from everything: their opinions, their voices, what they think, where they are,” she added.

This latest restriction comes almost a month after the women were prohibited in beauty salons in Afghanistan, further diminishing their freedom in what was also a severe economic blow to the families that depended on them for income.

according to a UN report published in June, women are prohibited from working in most sectors outside the home and from attending public baths, parks and gyms. They must wear a loose black face covering and are not allowed to leave the house for no reason, and even then not without a male guardian.

The report was compiled after a week-long visit to Afghanistan by Richard Bennett, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, and Dorothy Estrada-Tanck, who led a contingent of the working group on discrimination against women and girls.

Restrictions outside the home and economic hardship had led to “significant tensions” within households and an increase in domestic violence, and there was “remarkable evidence” of a “significant increase” in forced marriage of girls, according to the report.

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