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Global outcry as Taliban imposes new restrictions on women’s education

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Rights groups have expressed strong condemnation of the Taliban’s latest measures restricting women’s education and mobility in Afghanistan.

New directives preventing Afghan women from visiting a prominent national park and pursuing academic scholarships in the United Arab Emirates have drawn widespread criticism from human rights organisations.

Amnesty International strongly criticises the Taliban’s decision to prohibit female students from traveling to Dubai for university studies, labeling it a severe violation of fundamental rights to education and freedom of movement.

The group conveys its concerns via a statement on X denouncing the ongoing gender-based persecution of women and girls in Afghanistan.

The organisation urges the Taliban to promptly reverse the decision and grant female students the right to travel and study.

Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor, the founding chairman of Dubai-based Al Habtoor Group, reveals that “Taliban authorities prevented around 100 women from traveling to the UAE, where he sponsored their higher education. Al-Habtoor expresses his commitment to providing educational support to these female students and highlights the meticulous planning of accommodations, transportation, security, and education.”

However, the Taliban’s refusal to allow the students to board the arranged aircraft has thwarted their opportunities.

Al Habtoor presents evidence, including an audio recording of an Afghan student’s experience of being stopped from boarding the flight at Kabul airport, despite having a male chaperone.

These students, viewing their academic scholarships as their sole means of pursuing education abroad, voice their disappointment and frustration at having this valuable opportunity revoked due to circumstances beyond their control.

In another alarming development, the Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice declares the Band-e-Amir national park off-limits to women, citing dress code non-compliance.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its blue lakes and cliffs, is a favorite for tourists. The abrupt prohibition elicits strong reactions from Human Rights Watch (HRW), which characterises the decision as deliberate and cruel.

HRW urges the global community to pressure the Taliban to halt persistent violations of women’s rights, pointing to escalating restrictions encroaching upon all aspects of women’s lives.

The Taliban’s actions extend beyond education and public space access. Their control leads to closing universities and high schools to female students, creating more obstacles for women seeking education.

These developments raise global concerns, prompting questions from United Nations representatives and human rights advocates about the necessity and compatibility of these restrictions with Sharia law and Afghan culture.

As Afghan women grapple with mounting constraints, human rights organizations, international bodies, and concerned individuals continue to raise their voices against the erosion of women’s rights, urging the Taliban to reconsider policies and practices perpetuating gender-based discrimination and exclusion.

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