Two sources told Reuters on Sunday that the Taliban has ordered Afghan airlines that women will not be allowed to board domestic or international flights without a male chaperone.
The decision comes after the Taliban reversed their previous vow to allow females to attend high schools, a move that stunned many Afghans and garnered condemnation from humanitarian organizations and other governments.
Due to its decision on Wednesday, the US postponed planned discussions with Taliban officials on critical economic concerns on Friday.
The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice wrote airlines a letter on Saturday warning them of the new limitations, according to the sources, who did not want to be identified for security reasons.
Unaccompanied women who had already purchased tickets will be allowed to fly on Sunday and Monday, according to the statement. They claimed that some ladies with tickets were turned away at Kabul’s airport on Saturday.
The Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, as well as the Ministry of Culture and Information, did not respond to requests for comment right away.
A spokesman for the Taliban administration previously stated that women studying abroad should be accompanied by a male relative.
The Taliban claim to have improved since their former reign, which prohibited women from attending school, working, or leaving the house without a male relative from 1996 to 2001. They claim to be respecting women’s rights while adhering to Islamic law and Afghan culture.
Many Afghan women and rights organizations have criticized the closing of high schools, as well as some restrictions on women’s employment and the necessity that women travel large distances with a chaperone.
It was unclear whether the restrictions on air travel would allow for any exceptions, such as in an emergency or for women with no live male relations in the country, or whether they would apply to foreigners or dual citizens.
The international community has not officially recognized the Taliban administration, and sanctions have damaged the country’s banking sector, resulting in a humanitarian crisis, which has been exacerbated by cut development funds.