Afghanistan: Taliban ban women from university education
The higher education ministry of Afghanistan said that female students wouldn't be allowed in any of the country's universities until further notice. A Taliban government spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that all public and private universities were instructed to suspend access to female students immediately. A ministry spokesperson reportedly tweeted the letter signed by Minister for Higher Education, Neda Mohammad Nadeem, in this regard.
Why does this story matter?
- The Taliban took control of Kabul on August 12, 2021, forcing senior officials to flee the nation as the US Army retreated from Afghanistan.
- The Taliban have imposed several restrictions on the freedom of women, young girls, and the media.
- In crisis-ridden Afghanistan, half the population faces acute hunger and nine million have been displaced, the United Nations (UN) says.
Restrictions imposed to preserve 'national interest', women's 'honor': Taliban
The Taliban defended the move, saying the restrictions were imposed to preserve "national interest" and women's "honor." Though several officials said the ban on secondary education was temporary, they also cited a lack of funds and the time required for remodeling the syllabus along Islamic lines. Earlier, it restricted women from most fields of employment and mandated head-to-toe clothing for them in public.
Another broken promise from Taliban: UN spokesperson
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it was "another broken promise from the Taliban." He said that since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, they have witnessed "a lessening of space for women, not only in education but access to public areas." He termed it troubling and said it was difficult to imagine how a country would develop without the participation of women and their education.
Taliban made announcement on day of UNSC meeting on Afghanistan
The Taliban's announcement came as the UN Security Council (UNSC) held a meeting on Afghanistan in New York. The US and UK criticized the ban as the UN secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, confirmed it. Otunbayeva said the move "undermined" the Taliban administration's relationship with the international community and the disregard for the stated concerns keeps them "at something of an impasse."
International community's reaction appeased, emboldened Taliban: Obaidullah Baheer
The founder of the 'Let Afghan Girls Learn' campaign, Obaidullah Baheer, called it "a recurring nightmare stretching over generations." He underscored that the Taliban chose to announce on the day the UNSC was discussing Afghanistan. He said that relying on the Taliban to reform internally wasn't working and that the international community's reaction toward them has "appeased" and "emboldened them."