Afghanistan: Eid celebrations muted for Herat women amid ongoing restrictions

For women in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat, Eid ul-Fitr this year was a somber occasion rather than a reason to celebrate as they say the strict restrictions imposed on them by the Taliban have left them disheartened.

They say the ban on education, on working and various other edicts against them have stripped them of any enthusiasm to celebrate the holiday.

Sahar, who had been in her final year at Herat University when the Taliban imposed a ban on women in December last year, said she was psychologically not in a place to celebrate and that financially she could not afford it.

“During other Eids (under the republic government) [we] were more enthusiastic and motivated, because we used to study, and used to sit for university exams after Eid. Ever since the Taliban closed the doors of the university to women, there has been no enthusiasm anymore. In the past, women were working, [they] had money to by [new] clothes for themselves. But this year, neither I nor other women in the [my] family have bought clothes,” she said.

Meanwhile, many citizens said that due to recent developments in Afghanistan and the increase in migration, Eid celebrations this year were a scaled down version of previous years.

“Unfortunately, due to the bans recently imposed [by the Taliban] in the country, people’s financial situation has become difficult and people do not celebrate Eid as they did in the past,” said Elyas, a resident of Herat.

Reports meanwhile indicated that the Taliban banned women from joining gatherings over Eid in Takhar and Baghlan provinces.

Although Friday was marked as the first day of Eid across Afghanistan, a number of provinces – including Bamiyan, Daikundi, and Shiite neighborhoods in the capital Kabul, considered Saturday as the first day of Eid.