Khalaf al-Habtoor, the head of an aid organization in Dubai, has said in a post published on social media that three female students from Afghanistan, out of nearly 100 students, arrived in Dubai on Thursday.
The students are among the 100 girls who, according to the organization, were stopped by the Taliban at the Kabul airport on Thursday and prevented from traveling to Dubai.
Al-Habtoor, a billionaire businessman and philanthropist, said he hopes the other girls will also arrive in Dubai soon in order for them to continue their studies.
The UAE benefactor has sponsored 100 girls to study at Dubai universities. The girls were due to fly to the UAE on Wednesday but were turned away at the airport by the Taliban, and barred from boarding their flight.
Within hours, media reports emerged around the world after al-Habtoor posted a video recording and statement on X (formerly Twitter) voicing his disappointment and disbelief over the Taliban’s actions.
In response to the Taliban’s move, the Deputy Spokesperson of the United Nations Secretary General Florencia Soto Niño said on Thursday the move was disturbing and heart-breaking.
“Education is one of those essential rights that is crucial and that women are entitled to and not just entitled to but, they’re ought as part of their human rights and that also affects not just them individually but the whole country as a society. We will continue to be doing this to call on the de facto authorities to uphold their obligations under international law. And we will continue to advocate further for the rights of women because Afghanistan cannot develop without their full participation. It is really heart-breaking that women who want to exercise peace rights are being prevented from doing so,” said Niño.
Naseer Ahmed Faiq, head of Afghanistan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, also called this action of the Taliban un-Islamic and far from human values.
While thanking Nihad al-Habtoor, he said: “The people of Afghanistan really appreciate your efforts, your generosity and your support for the education of women and girls. We all know that this action by the Taliban is un-Islamic, inhumane and a clear action to keep people in darkness and ignorance.”
Amrullah Saleh, the former first vice president during the republic, also slammed the move and said the Taliban has returned Afghanistan to the age of ignorance.
He said: “India reached the moon … But Talib returned Afghanistan to the age of ignorance. They closed the gates of the school and yesterday they did not allow some of our sisters who were traveling with Muharram to study science.”
Women and girls on social media once again asked the world to put pressure on the Taliban to reverse all the restrictions against them.
The Taliban has not provided any details about why they prevented the female students from leaving the country.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid did not respond to Amu’s query about the matter. Al-Habtoor charity foundation has however called this action of the Taliban disappointing and in contravention to human and Islamic values.