Dozens of Afghan women have been prevented from leaving their country to study in the United Arab Emirates, where they received a scholarship, one of them told AFP on Thursday after protests from her sponsor.
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Laila is one of about 30 women who were sponsored by renowned Emirati businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor to study in the United Arab Emirates, but who were prevented from boarding their flight at the airport at the last moment. Kabul on Wednesday.
She explains that they, along with other women whose studies had been funded, were turned away from the airport at the gate by uniformed men who told them they had been ordered to bar cardholders from leaving the country.
Taliban officials did not respond to AFP requests for comment or confirmation that such an order existed.
After the Taliban authorities returned to power in August 2021, young girls were no longer allowed to attend secondary schools and universities.
“Our only hope was to go abroad to continue our studies,” said Laila, 22, who wanted to go to law school.
“It was an extraordinary opportunity for us, but like everything else, this opportunity was taken away from us,” laments the young woman, whose name was changed for fear of reprisals.
In a Wednesday on the social network
Mr Al Habtoor explains that around 100 women have been awarded scholarships in partnership with Dubai University and that staff at the Al Habtoor Group, of which he is founding President, have worked for months to ensure everything is in place for them on arrival.
“The Afghan authorities have prevented their departure without justification, thereby unjustly restricting their freedom… I call on everyone involved to intervene quickly to rescue and help these students in difficulty,” he said.
“You have the right to study, you have the right to do anything that men can do and there is no exception to that,” stressed the businessman, who spoke in English.