Taliban Suspends University Education for Afghan women

Most Afghan teenage girls have already been banned from secondary school education, severely limiting university intake.

Taliban
Taliban regime stop women from University Education

In a move that will have a damaging effect on the welfare of female population of Afghanistan, Taliban regime has ordered an indefinite ban on university education for the country’s women. The order was issued by the ministry of higher education in a letter issued to all government and private universities.

“You all are informed to implement the mentioned order of suspending education of females until further notice,” said the letter signed by the minister for higher education, Neda Mohammad Nadeem.

The ban on higher education comes less than three months after thousands of girls and women sat university entrance exams across the country, with many aspiring to choose engineering and medicine as future careers.

After the takeover of Afghanistan by the hardline Islamists in August last year, universities were forced to implement new rules including gender-segregated classrooms and entrances, and women were only permitted to be taught by female professors or old men.

Most Afghan teenage girls have already been banned from secondary school education, severely limiting university intake.

The move provoked an international chorus of condemnation, with the US warning the Taliban would be held to account.

“This unacceptable stance will have significant consequences for the Taliban and will further alienate the Taliban from the international community,” said state department spokesperson Ned Price.

The UN was “deeply concerned” by the order, said Ramiz Alakbarov, the secretary general’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan.

“Education is a fundamental human right. A door closed to women’s education is a door closed to the future of Afghanistan,” he tweeted.

Taliban regime is at odds with many officials in Kabul and some of their rank and file, who had hoped girls would be allowed to continue learning after the takeover.

Allies in Afghanistan: Where from here?

A day after the Taliban regime banned women students from universities, several male students at the Nangarhar University in Jalalabad and at Kandahar University in Afghanistan reportedly staged a protest and expressed solidarity with the women. The male students walked out of the examination hall at the University and stood by women’s rights in the country.

Responding to the ban, the International Rescue Committee said: “The closure of universities to women and girls is a chilling step backwards for Afghanistan. There are no two ways about it: women must be allowed to work and to move freely, and girls must be allowed to continue to go to school.”

Women have been pushed out of many government jobs or are being paid a slashed salary to stay at home. They are also barred from travelling without a male relative, and must cover up outside the home, ideally with a burqa.

In November they were prohibited from going to parks, funfairs, gyms and public baths.

In a cruel U-turn, the Taliban in March blocked girls from returning to secondary schools on the morning they were supposed to reopen.

Several Taliban officials say the secondary education ban is only temporary, but have given a litany of excuses for the closure, from a lack of funds to time needed to remodel the syllabus along Islamic lines.

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