Afghan city bans men and women from eating in restaurants together

The Taliban government forbids men and women from eating together or going to parks, even as husband and wife, in the western city of Herat.

Riazullah Seerat, an official at the Taliban government’s Agency for Ethics Promotion and Evil Prevention in the city of Herat, said on May 12 that officials had issued a request “for men and women to keep their distance at home.” customers, even if they are husband and wife”.

An Afghan woman, who did not want to be named, said she and her husband were asked by the restaurant manager in Herat to sit separately on May 11.

“We have to follow the regulation, but it has a very negative impact on our business,” said restaurant manager Safiullah, adding that if the ban continues, he may have to fire employees. pellets.

An Afghan couple ride a motorbike on the outskirts of Ghazni, Ghazni province, in November 2021.  Photo: AFP.

An Afghan couple ride a motorbike on the outskirts of Ghazni, Ghazni province, in November 2021. Image: AFP.

Seerat said Herat also issued a requirement that public parks be segregated by gender, with men and women only allowed to visit parks on different days.

“We allow women to visit the parks on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays every week. Other days are for men,” says Seerat, adding that if women want to exercise on days that aren’t meant for them, they should find a “safe place or practice at home”.

The Taliban have repeatedly stated they have changed from their previous rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. At that time, they banned women from going to school, working or leaving the house without a male relative. to escort. The Taliban also insist they are giving women rights under Islamic law and Afghan culture.

However, recent Taliban authorities have increasingly imposed strict restrictions on Afghans, especially women and girls, as they are prevented from returning to high school and participating in public affairs. government. Afghan women across the country are banned from flying without a male escort and must cover their faces in public.

Herat is the third largest city in Afghanistan with a population of about 400,000. Before the Taliban took power, Herat was seen as a city with few restrictions. Currently, Herat authorities also stop issuing driver’s licenses to women.

Ngoc Anh (Theo AFP)

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