In Afghanistan, women are prohibited from traveling by plane unaccompanied by a male relative

The Taliban have ordered airlines in Afghanistan to refuse boarding to women unless they are accompanied by a male relative on trips, Afghan airlines told us.

Two officials from Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air told AFP on Sunday evening that they had received an order from the Taliban to stop issuing tickets to women who were not accompanied by a male relative on their journey.

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The decision was taken after a midweek meeting between Taliban officials, those two airlines and immigration officials at Kabul airport. A letter to airline staff from a senior Ariana Afghan Airlines official, copied to AFP, confirms these new instructions, which will apply to all flights. “No woman may fly on domestic or international flights without a male relative”indicates the letter.

Two travel agencies contacted by AFP also confirmed that they are no longer issuing tickets to women who wish to travel alone. “Some women traveling without a male relative were not allowed to board a Kam Air flight from Kabul to Islamabad on Friday.”a passenger on the flight told AFP.

A set of new restrictions

An Afghan woman with a US passport was also prevented from boarding a flight to Dubai on Friday, another source said. At the end of December, the Taliban fundamentalists had banned Afghan women from traveling more than 72 kilometers in the country unless they were accompanied by a close family member.

In Kabul, Afghan women try to demonstrate against the Taliban regime

This new restriction on Afghan women comes days after the Taliban’s decision to close secondary schools for girls, shortly after their long-heralded reopening.

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On Sunday, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice also ordered the segregation of women and men in public parks in Kabul and instituted visiting days for each gender. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are now reserved for men and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for women, he said.

Since coming to power seven months ago, the Taliban have continued to impose restrictions on women. They are barred from many public jobs, their clothing is checked and they are forbidden to travel alone outside of their city and henceforth to take the plane. They also arrested and detained female activists, some for several weeks, who had been demonstrating for women’s rights.

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