Seven months after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, the latter took new measures restricting the freedom of women, who will no longer be able to fly without being accompanied by a man from their family.
Two officials from Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air told AFP on Sunday evening that they had been banned by the Taliban from issuing tickets to Afghan women if they are not accompanied by a male relative for their trip.
A senior Ariana Afghan Airlines official confirmed the new guidelines in a letter circulated to company staff. “No woman is allowed to fly on domestic or international flights without a male relative,” it read. This ban therefore affects all flights likely to be taken by Afghan women.
Since the announcement of this ban, many women have been refused boarding for lack of male companions. “Some who were traveling without a male relative were not allowed to board a Kam Air flight from Kabul to Islamabad on Friday,” a passenger told AFP.
It is unclear whether the directive applies to foreign women, but local media reported the case of an Afghan woman with a US passport who was prevented from flying last week.
Many restrictive measures in Afghanistan
This new directive complements the one issued at the end of December. The Taliban fundamentalists had then prohibited Afghan women from making trips of more than 72 kilometers in the country if they were not accompanied by a male member of the family.
It also comes just days after the Taliban’s decision to close secondary schools for girls, just after their reopening which had been announced for a long time.
The dreaded Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has also announced the separation of women and men in Kabul’s public parks, with mandated visiting days for each gender. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are now reserved for men and Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays for women.
“It is not an order from the Islamic Emirate but the order from our God that unrelated men and women should not meet in the same place,” said Mohammad Yahya Aref, a ministry official, to justify these new measures restricting freedom in Afghanistan.
The Taliban regained power in Afghanistan on August 15. They had previously governed the country between 1996 and 2001.