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Islamic Emirate Says Afghan with Legal Documents Can Travel

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KABUL: Following strong national and international reactions regarding the recent travel restriction declared by the Islamic Emirate, Deputy Minister of Information and Culture, Zabiullah Mujahid said that Afghans traveling based on legal documents are allowed to do so.

“My remarks about Afghans going abroad was only Afghans who do not have legal documents and are going abroad illegally will be prevented. Our compatriots who have legal documents and invitations can travel outside the country and can return to the country,” Mujahid said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Mujahid’s remarks sparked reactions inside and outside the country. The UK, US as well as some international organizations said the restrictions are unacceptable.

UK Chargé d’Affaires to Afghanistan, Hugo Shorter, on Sunday evening said the Islamic Emirate’s actions would “undermine their commitments to the international community and the trust of Afghans.”  

“We have also seen Taliban instructions to prevent travel by Afghan citizens to foreign countries. Women have been told they cannot travel to foreign countries without a male guardian and a ‘justified excuse.’ These would be unacceptable restrictions on freedom of movement. I call on the Taliban to clarify their remarks urgently,” he said on Twitter.

Heather Barr, associate women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch said if people do not have freedom of movement, they cannot enjoy any of their other rights. The space for women in Afghanistan is further closing, she said.

“This latest move by the Taliban to block women from leaving the country unless they have Mahram with them is part of a pattern of steps that the Taliban have been taking since August 15. I have really sort of felt that the walls are closing in on women and girls and their freedom of movement becoming more and more restricted,” she said.

Talking to the press conference in Kabul, earlier Mujahid also said that female students provided with scholarships abroad are not allowed to travel without male accompanying.

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