Higher education minister calls for lifting travel restrictions

KABUL (SW) – Abdul Baqi Haqqani, has condemned the renewed travel restrictions imposed on him by the UN.

The head of the Ministry of Higher Education told a news conference in response to the UN decision that this is unreasonable and that the organization should reconsider. Haqqani, who has just returned from Turkey, said that Afghanistan’s education system needs the cooperation of the international community.

Although Haqqani blamed restrictions on his travels and those of the Deputy Minister of Education to the detriment of solving the problems of the country’s education sector, he said he will consider alternative ways to connect with the world.

“In such circumstances, such restrictions are unreasonable, higher education in Afghanistan has achievements, and the curriculum of educational institutions continues,” he said. “They (UN officials) are unaware of this. If they had been aware, they would not have made such a decision.”

The United Nations on Monday banned two Taliban officials from traveling in response to the heavy restrictions the hard-liners have imposed on Afghan women, diplomats told AFP. Travel exemptions permitting 15 Taliban officials to go abroad for negotiations were set to expire Monday.

For thirteen officials, the travel exemptions were extended for at least two months, but they were scrapped for two education officials as the Taliban curtails girls’ and women’s access to schools.