Taliban ban university for women despite promising modernisation

Taliban ban university for women despite promising modernisation
Taliban bans women from universities in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Taliban have banned women from attending university after promising a modernised approach when they reassumed control of Kabul.

After 20 years in power, a US-led military coalition toppled their regime. On 15 August 2021, the Taliban entered the capital of Kabul and took control of the country.

Over the last year, human rights violations against females have grown – despite saying that women would be able to exercise their rights within Sharia Law.

Instead, women have been banished from cabinet positions, instructed to cover their faces in public and remain in their houses unless necessary and have been banned from travelling long-distance journeys unless with a male chaperone, according to UN Women.

On Tuesday (20 December), the higher education minister announced that the regressive university ban would take immediate effect. The letter signed by Neda Mohammad Nadeem read: "You all are informed to implement the mentioned order of suspending education of females until further notice."

It marks their latest form of control, after saying they would open some high schools for girls in March but cancelling on the students' supposed return date.

In the announcement, the Taliban said that high schools would remain closed for girls until it had a plan that coincided with its harsh interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Ziaullah Hashimi, tweeted the letter and confirmed the order in a text message to Agence France-Presse.

Protests erupted across Kabul, which was quickly shut down by Taliban officials, according to the BBC.

Thousands more turned to Twitter to campaign and expressed their disgust.

Former Policy Special Advisor to Minister for Afghan Resettlement & Minister for Refugees, Shabnam Nasimi, tweeted: "Male university students have walked out of their exam in protest against Taliban’s decision to BAN female students from university education. Several male professors have also resigned so far. This must happen across the country NOW!"

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Human Rights Watch wrote: "This is a shameful decision that violates the right to education for women and girls in Afghanistan. The Taliban are making it clear every day that they don't respect the fundamental rights of Afghans, especially women."

Former Afghan government official, Samim Arif, shared the harrowing story of his 18-year-old sister, who "worked extremely hard to make it to engineering school."

He wrote: "She had to go above & beyond because there weren’t a lot of Kankor prep programs for girls. Now Taliban banned her from attending school. Her dreams are shattered, our family is devastated."

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