By Charlotte Greenfield
(Reuters) – The head of a Dubai-based conglomerate on Wednesday said Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities had stopped around 100 women from travelling to the United Arab Emirates where he was to sponsor their university education.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, founding chairman of Al Habtoor Group, said in a video posted on X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, that he had planned to sponsor the female students to attend university and a plane he had paid for had been due to fly them to the UAE on Wednesday morning.
“Taliban government refused to allow the girls who were coming to study here – a hundred girls sponsored by me – they refused them to board the plane and already we have paid for the aircraft, we have organised everything for them here, accommodation, education, transportation security,” he said in the video.
Spokespeople for the Taliban administration and Afghan foreign affairs ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
Al Habtoor included audio of one of the Afghan students who said that she had been accompanied by a male chaperone but airport authorities in Kabul had stopped her and others from boarding the flight.
The Taliban administration have closed universities and high schools to female students in Afghanistan.
They allow Afghans to leave the country but usually require Afghan women travelling long distances and abroad to be accompanied by a male chaperone, such as their husband, father or brother.
(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and Maha El Dahan; Editing by Bill Berkrot)