The Taliban have ordered airlines in Afghanistan to refuse to board women if they are not accompanied by a male relative to travel, Agence France-Presse (AFP) has learned from Afghan airlines.
Two officials from the Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air companies said on Sunday evening March 27 to AFP that they had received an order from the Taliban to no longer issue tickets to women who were not accompanied by a male relative to their trip.
The decision was taken after a midweek meeting between representatives of the Taliban, these two airlines and immigration authorities at Kabul airport.
A letter sent by a senior official of Ariana Afghan Airlines to the staff of the airline, and of which AFP obtained a copy, confirms these new instructions which apply to all flights.
Limitation of travel
“No female is allowed to fly on domestic or international flights without a male relative”, says the letter. Two travel agents contacted by AFP also confirmed that they had stopped issuing tickets to women wishing to travel alone.
“Some women who were traveling without a male relative were not allowed to board a Kam Air flight from Kabul to Islamabad on Friday”told AFP a passenger who was on the flight.
An Afghan woman with a US passport was also barred from boarding a flight to Dubai on Friday, another source said.
By late December, Taliban fundamentalists had already banned Afghan women from traveling more than 72 kilometers into the country unless accompanied by a close family member.
Separation also in public parks
This new restriction imposed on Afghan women comes a few days after the decision of the Taliban to close secondary schools for girls, just after their reopening, which had however been announced for a long time.
On Sunday, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice also ordered the separation of women and men in Kabul’s public parks, establishing visiting days for each sex. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are now reserved for men and Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays for women, he said.
Since coming to power seven months ago, the Taliban have continued to impose restrictions on women. They are excluded from many public jobs, controlled on how to dress and forbidden to travel alone outside their city and henceforth to take the plane. They also arrested and detained women activists – some for several weeks – who had protested for women’s rights.