Afghanistan women can board flights alone for the last time today: Taliban
Some women with tickets had been turned away at Kabul's airport on Saturday.
In yet another major setback for the women in Afghanistan, the Taliban have barred them from boarding domestic or international flights without a male chaperone. News agency Reuters, quoting sources, reported that the ministry for the propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice has sent airlines a letter on Saturday informing of them of the new restrictions.
Unaccompanied women who had already booked tickets would be allowed to travel on Sunday and Monday, the report added. Some women with tickets had been turned away at Kabul's airport on Saturday.
The Taliban, ever since recapturing Afghanistan last year, have been imposing sweeping restrictions on freedoms, mostly targeting Afghan girls and women. On Sunday, they ordered local television channels to stop broadcasting BBC news bulletins.
Over the weekend, they also decreed that men and women could not visit parks in the capital on the same days.
"It is not the Islamic Emirate's order but our God's order that men and women who are strangers to each other should not gather at one place," news agency AFP quoted Mohammad Yahya Aref, an official at the vice ministry, as saying.
The new curbs on women follow Wednesday's shutdown of all girls' secondary schools just hours after they were allowed to reopen for the first time since August. Tens of thousands of girls had gone back to class, but officials ordered them home just hours into the day.
The Taliban said the decision was taken after a closed-door meeting of the movement's leaders last week in Kandahar, the de facto power centre of the group.
On Monday, the Taliban administration's public morality ministry patrolled the entrances to all government offices, checking that employees had grown beards and adhered to a dress code.
According to Reuters, the ministry for the propagation of virtue and prevention of vice is instructing all government employees not to shave their beards, to wear local clothing consisting of a long, loose top and trousers, and a hat or turban.
After taking over Kabul in August last year, the Taliban had promised a more liberal version of their previous rule between 1996 and 2001, but they continue to target women’s freedom. During their first stint in power, they had barred women from education, work and even leaving the house without a male relative.
(With inputs from agencies)