women are also banned from gyms and public baths

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.

Gymnasiums and public baths are now also off-limits to Afghan women, said the Taliban authorities who had already recently announced their exclusion from the parks and gardens of the capital.

Gyms are closed to women because their trainers were men and some (of the gyms) were mixedMohammad Akif Sadeq Mohajir, spokesman for the Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue, told AFP on Sunday. He also added that the “hammamspublic baths, where men and women are traditionally separated, are also forbidden to the latter. “Currently, every house has a bathroom, so it’s no problem for womento wash up, 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. “This is a ladies-only gym. Teachers and coaches are all women“Laments one of them. “You can’t ban us from everything“Adds the young woman, her voice broken by emotion.

Restricted women’s rights and freedoms

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.

The secondary schools for girls were closed and they ordered them to wear the full veil. Excluded from most public jobs, women are also prevented from traveling alone outside their town.

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 its “worryafter 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.

SEE ALSO – ‘I feel bad’: Afghans reflect on the Taliban’s first year in power

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