Reports indicate that a significant number of young Afghan women have been stopped by the Taliban from embarking on their journey to the United Arab Emirates (UAE),

where they had intended to pursue higher education at the university.

Khalaf Al Habtoor, a prominent Emirati business figure, conveyed through a video message on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had sponsored nearly 100 Afghan female students to pursue their higher education in collaboration with the University of Dubai.

However, his office received distressing news on Wednesday that the Taliban authorities prevented these young women from boarding a plane at Kabul airport, which was waiting to transport them.

Al Habtoor, who is the founder and chairman of Al Habtoor Group—a major conglomerate in the UAE—expressed his sentiments about this situation. He conveyed his deep disappointment and stated, "This situation has left me at a loss for words to describe the extent of my disappointment."

Al Habtoor Group had made substantial arrangements for the students in Dubai, including university admissions, accommodation, transportation, and other essential facilities. However, these efforts were thwarted when the Taliban intervened and prevented the students from departing Afghanistan.

While urging concerned parties to take action, Al Habtoor shared on X, "Our hopes were shattered. The Afghan authorities, without any valid explanation, halted their departure, unjustly restricting their freedom. This is a profound tragedy, a violation of fundamental principles of humanity, education, equality, and justice."

In December, Al Habtoor had committed to assisting at least 100 female Afghan students in pursuing higher education in the UAE.

One of the Afghan students sent a voice message to Al Habtoor, explaining their predicament. She revealed, "Currently, we are at the airport, but regrettably, the government has prohibited us from flying to Dubai." She continued, "Even though we had student visas and tickets, they refused our departure. We are at a loss about what to do. Please assist us. We are deeply concerned."

She further highlighted that some students were denied travel even when accompanied by a male guardian or "mahram."

Since the Taliban regained control, girls over the age of 12 have been forbidden from attending school, and a nationwide ban has been enacted, preventing women from pursuing university education. Moreover, Afghan women have been restricted from working in various sectors, and their movement has been constrained. Photo by ninara from Helsinki, Finland, Wikimedia commons.