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Taliban sparks outrage as Islamist regime bans women from university

Afghanistan: Female students banned from university

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Female students in Afghanistan have been weeping and screaming outside their universities after Taliban security forces enforced a higher education ban for women. And videos have emerged online of men reportedly walking out of their classes to protest against the rule change.

It comes after the country’s Taliban rulers yesterday ordered women nationwide to stop attending private and public universities effective immediately and until further notice.

The Taliban has not given a reason for the ban or reacted to the fierce and swift global condemnation of it.

Security forces outside four universities in Kabul stopped some women from entering, while  allowing others to go in and finish their work.

They also tried to stop people from protesting and taking pictures or filming.

Alison Davidian, UN Women Representative in Afghanistan, described the announcement as a “dark day”.

Speaking to Manchester Evening News, she said: “[This] is another dark day for Afghanistan.

“The Taliban’s latest decision banning women from attending university is a direct attack on Afghanistan’s future. The right to education for all must be restored immediately.”

Afghani and American actress, Azita Ghanizada, also tweeted about the move which she described as “oppression” and said: “To be Afghan is to wake up daily with a punch in the heart. As expected #Taliban suspend University for women, leaving girls only 1-6th grade.

“And #congress omits the bipartisan bill that created a safe path for the Allies that fled last year. Starvation, indignity, oppression.”

Members of an activist group called the Unity and Solidarity of Afghanistan Women gathered outside the private Edrak University in Kabul this morning, chanting slogans in Dari – Afghanistan’s most widely spoken language.

They said: “Do not make education political!

“Once again university is banned for women, we do not want to be eliminated!”

When the Taliban seized power in August 2021 they initially promised a more moderate rule than in the past, including respecting rights for women and minorities.

But instead, they have widely implemented their strict interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia.

Girls are banned from education after primary school and they are barred from most jobs.

They have also been ordered to cover up in public, from head to toe, including their faces. And they are also banned from parks and gyms.

A letter shared by the spokesman for the Ministry of Higher Education, Ziaullah Hashmi, yesterday told private and public universities to implement the ban as soon as possible and to inform the ministry once the ban is in place.

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The move has sparked outrage around the world and will hurt efforts from the Taliban to win recognition from potential international donors at a time when Afghanistan is mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis.

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken says no other country in the world bars women and girls from receiving an education.

He said: “The Taliban cannot expect to be a legitimate member of the international community until they respect the rights of all in Afghanistan.

“This decision will come with consequences for the Taliban.”

Afghan political analyst Ahmad Saeedi says he believes most Afghans favour female education because they consider learning to be a religious command contained in the Quran.

He said the decision to bar women from universities was likely made by a handful of senior Taliban figures, including the leader Hibatullah Akhunzada, who are based in the southwestern city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement.



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