Taliban blocks about 100 women in Afghanistan from flying to Dubai for university News
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Taliban blocks about 100 women in Afghanistan from flying to Dubai for university

Around 100 Afghan women were prevented from boarding a plane to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where they were to attend university, by Taliban authorities on Wednesday. The students were sponsored by Dubai-based businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, who provided them with scholarships in collaboration with the University of Dubai. 

In a statement, Al Habtoor said, “The authorities in Afghanistan, without justification, prevented [the women’s] departure, unjustly curtailing their freedom.” According to Al Habtoor, several institutions were involved in the efforts to grant the women scholarships, including the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dubai Police.

Al Habtoor and his business Al Habtoor Group had organized accommodation, travel, health insurance and university admission, as well as “an array of comprehensive services aimed at ensuring the utmost comfort and safety for the female students.” In a subsequent statement, Al Habtoor announced that three of the Afghan women had safely made it to Dubai. 

Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, women have faced an increasing amount of repression and human rights violations. The Taliban have prohibited women in Afghanistan from traveling more than 75 kilometers from their homes without a male escort. Women are also barred from attending school past the sixth grade, often forced to stay home and unable to obtain basic aid or employment. 

Al Habtoor said, “This stands as a profound tragedy, a blow against the principles of humanity, education, equality, and justice. I request all involved parties to quickly step in and help rescue and assist these struggling students.”