Taliban authorities in Afghanistan prevented a group of female students from boarding a plane to Dubai where they were headed to pursue their fully funded scholarships in university studies. The Emirati philanthropist and businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, who had offered to take care of the expenses for the students, said that one hundred girls had been held back in Kabul, unable to travel.
Via Twitter on the 23rd of August, Al Habtoor said he was “unable to express the disappointment [he now feels].”
Emirati philanthropist and businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, who had offered to take care of the expenses for the students, said that one hundred girls had been held back in Kabul, unable to travel
It appears as if Al Habtoor and friends had been anticipating the day for a while after months of never-ending effort to secure university admissions, accommodation, transportation and more.
When discussing the Taliban’s highly controversial decision to forbid education for girls, Al Habtoor said: “All humans have the right to receive education. It is important that the Taliban free them. I hope they will allow them to come to Dubai as soon as possible.”
Three of the students made it to Dubai safely. However, the fate of the remaining members of the group with scholarships is unknown. Al Habtoor has said he is hoping to see the rest of their classmates in Dubai very soon.
Three of the students did in fact make it to Dubai safely. However, the fate of the remaining members of the group with scholarships is unknown
Last year, Taliban officials refused to allow Afghan women travelling without a mahram (a male guardian) to cross into Iran or Pakistan in order to pursue studies. From March 2022, travelling with a male companion became a requirement for women travelling on domestic and international flights.
Afghan educationist and former government adviser Abdul Sami told University World News that the chances of the Taliban reducing their prejudice against women’s rights were very slim. However, he also said that pressure from the Islamic world on the Taliban could be effective in helping. He states that “The Taliban’s leaders would certainly pay very serious attention to the voices coming from the powerful and rich Gulf nations.”
“Chances of the Taliban reducing their prejudice against women very slim”: Abdul Sami, Afghan educationist
For now, the help from big corporations like Amnesty International and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation may be instrumental in turning over the laws so Afghan girls can break through the barriers to education.