Officials: Afghan Women Without Male Companions Booted From Flights

Unaccompanied women reportedly turned away from airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 26, 2022 9:30 AM CDT
Officials: Taliban Barring Women Without 'Guardians' From Flights
Afghan women chant and hold signs of protest during a demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. Afghanistan's Taliban rulers refused to allow dozens of women to board several flights, including some overseas, because they were traveling without a male guardian, two Afghan airline officials said...   (AP Photo/Mohammed Shoaib Amin)

Afghanistan's Taliban rulers refused to allow dozens of women to board several flights, including some overseas, because they were traveling without a male "guardian," two Afghan airline officials said Saturday. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said dozens of women who arrived at Kabul's international airport on Friday to board domestic and international flights were told they couldn't do so without a male guardian, per the AP. Some of the women were dual nationals returning to their homes overseas, including some from Canada, according to one of the officials. Women were denied boarding on flights to Islamabad, Dubai, and Turkey on Kam Air and the state-owned Ariana Afghan Airlines, said the officials. The order came from the Taliban leadership, said one official.

By Saturday, some women traveling alone were given permission to board an Ariana flight to western Herat province, the official said. However, by the time the permission was granted they'd missed their flight, he said. The airport's president and police chief, both from the Taliban movement and both Islamic clerics, were meeting Saturday with airline officials. "They are trying to solve it," the official said. It was still unclear whether the Taliban would exempt air travel from an order issued months ago requiring women traveling more than 45 miles to be accompanied by a male relative. Taliban officials contacted by the AP didn't respond to multiple requests for comment.

This latest assault on women's rights in Taliban-run Afghanistan comes just days after the all-male religiously driven government broke its promise to allow girls to return to school after the sixth grade. The move enraged the international community, which has been reluctant to recognize the Taliban-run government since the Taliban swept into power last August, fearing they would revert to their harsh rule of the 1990s. The Taliban's refusal to open up education to all Afghan children also infuriated large swaths of the Afghan population. On Saturday, dozens of girls demonstrated in the Afghan capital demanding the right to go to school. An Afghan charity called Pen Path, which runs dozens of "secret" schools with thousands of volunteers, is planning to stage countrywide protests to demand the Taliban reverse its order, said Pen Path founder Matiullah Wesa.

(Read more Taliban stories.)

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