Mar 1, 2022: According to a report by AFP, the Taliban administration has said that it would restrict Afghans from leaving the country under certain circumstances.
The announcement drew concern from the U.S and the U.K this week amidst fears they could hamper ongoing evacuation efforts.
At a press conference on Sunday, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that Afghans would not be allowed to leave the country unless they had a clear destination and that women could not travel overseas for study without a male guardian.
“We will not allow Afghans to leave the country unless their destinations are known,” Mujahid said.
He blamed poor conditions in countries where some Afghans were being held while their visas were processed after thousands were evacuated, at times without finalised visas, by withdrawing foreign forces in the wake of the Taliban’s take-over of the country in August.
Hugo Shorter, the UK charge d’affaires for Afghanistan said in a Tweet on Monday they had seen the Taliban’s statements.
“These would be unacceptable restrictions on freedom of movement,” he said. “I call on the Taliban to clarify their remarks urgently.”
Meanwhile a spokesperson for the U.S state department said, “We have seen the Taliban statements reported in the press and have raised our concerns with the Taliban,” the spokesperson said.
“Our ability to facilitate relocation for our Afghan allies depends on the Taliban living up to its commitment of free passage,” the spokesperson added.
It was not immediately clear whether the plans would hamper international governments and organizations’ efforts to evacuate the thousands of Afghans who had worked with foreign embassies, the military and projects, and in Western countries who are eligible for asylum but still remain in Afghanistan.
Mujahid said the Taliban’s travel ban would apply to Afghans who have worked with NATO and U.S forces, but did not say under what circumstances they would be able to evacuate.
In December last year, Regular evacuation flights organised by the United States via Qatar were largely stopped over disagreement by the Taliban administration on who should be able to board.
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