| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

Taliban restrict Afghans going abroad, raises concern from U.S. and UK

The United States and the United Kingdom expressed alarm this week about the Taliban administration’s announcement that it would limit Afghans from leaving the country under certain circumstances, fearing that it would stymie ongoing evacuation attempts.

At a press conference on Sunday, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid warned that Afghans would not be permitted to leave the country unless they had a specific destination in mind, and that women would not be allowed to study abroad without a male guardian.

Hugo Shorter, the UK charge d’affaires for Afghanistan, confirmed they had read the Taliban’s claims in a Tweet on Monday.

“These constraints on freedom of travel would be intolerable,” he remarked. “I urgently request that the Taliban clarify their words.”

It was unclear whether the plans would stymie international efforts to evacuate thousands of Afghans who had worked with foreign embassies, troops, and projects and were eligible for refuge in Western nations but remained in Afghanistan.
Late Monday, a US State Department official claimed the US was in talks with the Taliban about the situation.

“We have voiced our concerns with the Taliban after seeing the Taliban statements publicized in the news,” the official said.

“Our ability to assist our Afghan partners in relocating is contingent on the Taliban honoring their promise of unfettered passage,” the official continued.

  • Reuters