Strict rules in Herat: the Taliban separate women and men in restaurants

Strict rules in Herat
The Taliban separate women and men in restaurants

The power of the Taliban, which was advertised as more moderate, has degenerated into an empty promise. Radical Islamists are increasingly excluding women in Afghanistan from education and the world of work. In Herat, they even forbid women and men from going to restaurants and parks together.

Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban has imposed strict gender segregation in restaurants and public parks in the western city of Herat. In restaurants, women and men must now sit at separate tables, local Taliban representative Riasullah Sirat said. Public parks are reserved for men on certain days and for women on other days.

Sirat, who represents the infamous Ministry of Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice in Herat, said restaurateurs have been warned not to enforce the rule, even if they are married. It is quite common for women and men to go to restaurants together in Afghanistan, especially in Herat, which is considered a liberal city by Afghan standards.

Afghan women must wear the burqa

The owner of the Safiullah restaurant confirmed that he had been informed of the new rule by the authorities. “We have to follow the order,” he said. “But it has a very negative impact on our business.”

After taking power in August, the Taliban promised a more moderate government than during their 1996-2001 rule. In recent months, however, many women’s freedoms have been curtailed, for example in education and in the labor market. More recently, national regulations on full-body coverage have drawn international criticism. In Herat in particular, the authorities have, among other things, prohibited the issuing of driving licenses to women.

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