Travel Restriction on Afghan Women

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The Taliban in Afghanistan are adding insult to injuries by imposing more and more sanctions on women. They began refusing to allow women to travel abroad without male guardians, sometimes under confusing circumstances as their male relatives settled abroad. This move does not help the party in its quest for power as the Afghan government. Meanwhile, women and girls are already protesting in Kabul, demanding that they should be allowed to return to school. The Taliban said many women’s schools and universities would reopen in March, but the girls were finally repatriated within hours of the first opening day of the week earlier, with a new reopening date given next month. Neither the Taliban nor the school authorities could provide a solid explanation for why the government took the U-turn. It also doesn’t help, the recent reports in Western media suggest that some Taliban leaders have been sending their daughters abroad to study because they are supposedly concerned about their daughters’ missing classes at home. If true, we would not be surprised if these VVIP children were allowed to go without male guardians. As for the Afghans, the Taliban had already imposed restrictions on women and girls traveling more than 72km without a male guardian. However, there have been questions about whether the rules will apply to air travel. Those questions appear to have been answered soon, with reports that the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice had told airlines to bar unaccompanied women from traveling. Interestingly, the new vague rules do not include exemptions for two foreign nationals or other women with only male parents based abroad. Given the Taliban’s pursuit of global recognition and the withdrawal of economic sanctions, this recent U-turn makes even more sense. Western nations have imposed the lifting of sanctions on women’s rights, and the US, surprisingly, canceled talks immediately after the Taliban closed schools on Wednesday. It seems that the new Taliban, as in the past, still puts more oppressive women ahead of Afghanistan.

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