Taliban bans women from visiting Bamiyan’s famous Band-e-Amir

In yet another blow to women in Afghanistan, the Taliban on Saturday banned them from visiting the breathtakingly beautiful Band-e-Amir in central Bamiyan province, stating that they were not observing hijab.

Addressing a ceremony in Bamiyan, the Taliban’s acting minister of Vice and Virtue Mohammad Khalid Hanafi asked Taliban security agencies, religious clerics, and elders to prevent women and girls from visiting the national park.

“We must seriously act today to prevent [women] from not observing hijab. This is what Ulema also demands, and the nation also demands, and Amir-u-alMomenin (Hibatullah Akhunzada) has also directed as well as Allah’s order,” he said.

“From today, women and our sisters cannot go to Band-e-Amir until a procedure is prepared,” Hanafi added.

Band-e Amir National Park was established in April 2009 to promote and protect the natural beauty of a series of intense blue lakes created by natural dams high in the Hindu Kush mountains.

Band-e-Amir is a chain of six lakes in the mountainous desert of central Afghanistan and attracts thousands of domestic and foreign visitors annually.

The site of Band-e Amir has been described as Afghanistan’s Grand Canyon.