The Taliban have asked airlines in Afghanistan not to allow women to board planes unless accompanied by a man from their family, the companies themselves said.
Two Afghan Airlines officials, Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air, told AFP on Sunday that they had been instructed by the Taliban not to give tickets to women who were not accompanied on their journey by a family man. The decision came after a meeting between representatives of the Taliban, the two airlines and the Kabul Airport's immigration service in the middle of last week.
A letter from a senior Ariana Afghan Airlines executive to AFP staff confirming the new orders confirms all flights. "No woman is allowed to fly on domestic or international flights without being accompanied by a man," the letter said.
By the end of December, the Islamists, who seized power in Afghanistan in mid-August, had already banned women from traveling more than 72 kilometers without being accompanied by a male relative.
The new restrictions imposed on Afghans were announced a few days after the Taliban decided to exclude girls from secondary education. On Sunday, the Ministry of Virtue and the Prevention of Corruption ordered men and women to visit Kabul's public parks on different days. Now men can go to the parks on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and women can go to the parks on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
The Taliban have not stopped imposing restrictions on women since taking power in Afghanistan. These have been excluded from many positions in the public sector, while they have been imposed a strict dress code.
The UN Security Council, meanwhile, has expressed grave concern over the Taliban's decision to exclude girls from secondary education and called for the reopening of girls' schools as soon as possible. "The members of the Security Council (…) reaffirmed the right of all Afghans, including girls, to education," he said in a statement.
Following the Taliban's decision, the United States abruptly postponed a series of meetings with them in Doha to discuss important economic issues.
The Taliban have banned the BBC from broadcasting news in three major languages
The Taliban have banned the BBC from broadcasting the news in three major languages in Afghanistan, the British News Network reported. A spokesman for the Taliban administration at the Ministry of Culture and Information did not respond to a request for comment.
"The BBC news broadcasts in salt, Persian and Uzbek went off the air in Afghanistan after the Taliban instructed our television partners to remove international networks from television frequencies," Tariq al-Kafala, the BBC Service, in yesterday's announcement.
"It's a worrying development in a time of uncertainty and turmoil for the people of Afghanistan," Kafala said, calling for the ban to be lifted.
More than six million Afghans watch the BBC news every week and it is important that they are not denied access to it, he added.
Since the Taliban came to power in August, many rights groups and journalists have raised concerns about the prospects for free speech in Afghanistan. The United Nations has criticized the arrest of many journalists.
The Taliban say they will not retaliate against dissidents and will allow everyone to exercise their rights in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan culture.
The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan has condemned the removal of the BBC News. "Another creepy development; another oppressive step against the people of Afghanistan," the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a Twitter post.
Taliban ban bearded government officials from going to work, according to sources
The Taliban government's public moral ministry today inspected the entrances of all government offices, checking to see if officials had grown beards and adhered to dress code, sources told Reuters today.
Three sources said that representatives from the Ministry of Virtue Promotion and Prevention of Corruption instructed all government officials not to shave their beards, to wear local clothing, consisting of a long, loose shirt and trousers, as well as a head covering. .
The sources added that the employees were instructed that from now on they will not be able to enter the offices and that they will eventually be fired if they do not follow the dress codes.
Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ - Reuters