Taliban Halts Further Evacuations, Rejecting U.S. Precondition for Lifting Sanctions
On Sunday, the Taliban announced that Afghans will no longer be allowed to exit the country without a sufficient reason. In addition, women will be banned from traveling without a chaperone. The latter regulation contradicts one of the US’s key demands before lifting of sanctions and recognition of its government. Since the Taliban seized power last summer, thousands of Afghans have been fleeing the country to avoid punishment due to their affiliations or past affiliations with the US. The country has also suffered from a sharp economic decline that has left millions hungry or at risk for extreme poverty. The Taliban did not offer details on what reasons it would deem sufficient for leaving the country.
The Taliban reported that the restrictions were for the benefit of its citizens and stated that Afghan families who have fled the country are now suffering in refugee camps in countries such as Turkey and Qatar. Therefore, the government reportedly feels obliged to protect its people from the same fate. The Taliban stated that it was clear Afghans were not invited in other countries, and therefore more should not be allowed to exit.