Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers have ordered an indefinite ban on university education for the country’s women, the ministry of higher education said in a letter issued to all government and private universities.

Afghanistan: Taliban Ban Women From University Education With Immediate Effect

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

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 Taliban adhere to an austere version of Islam, with the movement’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, and his inner circle of Afghan clerics opposed to modern education, particularly for girls and women.

But they are at odds with many officials in Kabul and some of their rank and file, who had hoped girls would be allowed to continue learning following the takeover.

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.

Since the ban, many teenage girls have been married off early, often to much older men of their father’s choice.

Coupled with economic pressure, several families interviewed by AFP last month said that securing their daughters’ future through marriage was better than them sitting idle at home.

The international community has made the right to education for all women a sticking point in negotiations over aid and recognition of the Taliban regime.

“The international community has not and will not forget Afghan women and girls,” the UN security council said in a statement in September.

In the 20 years between the Taliban’s two reigns, girls were allowed to go to school and women were able to seek employment in all sectors, though the country remained socially conservative.

Muslim-majority Countries Condemn Taliban’s University Ban For Women

Qatar Expresses Deep Concern, Disappointment over Decision to Suspend Study of Girls, Women in Afghanistan’s Universities

The State of Qatar expresses deep concern and disappointment with the Afghan caretaker government’s decision to suspend girls and women’s studies in Afghan universities until further notice.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stresses that these negative practices will have a significant impact.on human rights, development, and the economy in Afghanistan.

As a Muslim country in which women enjoy all their rights, especially education, the State of Qatar calls on the Afghan caretaker Government to review its decision in line with the teachings of the lslamic religion concerning women’s rights, the statement added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs underscores the position of the State of Qatar supporting all spectra of Afghan people to obtain all their rights, particularly the right to education. lt also renewed the deep commitment of the State of Qatar to work with its Afghan and international partners to ensure that all
groups of Afghan people of all ages enjoy their right to education.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – State of Qatar

Pakistan urges Afghan authorities to revisit the decision to suspend university and higher education for female students in Afghanistan

Pakistan is disappointed to learn about the suspension of university and higher education for female students in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s position on this issue has been clear and consistent. We strongly believe that every man and woman has the inherent right to education in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.

We strongly urge the Afghan authorities to revisit this decision.

Islamabad

21 December 2022

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Islamic Republic of Pakistan

THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES CONDEMNS THE TALIBAN’S DECISION TO BAN GIRLS FROM HIGHER EDUCATION

Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister for Political Affairs and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, reiterated the UAE’s strong condemnation of the most recent decision by the Taliban to ban Afghan women and girls from accessing higher education. The decision is the latest example of the restrictions imposed on Afghan women and girls since August 2021 aimed at their erasure from public life.

The decision profoundly jeopardizes the international community’s efforts to engage with the Taliban in the interest of the Afghan people.

The UAE reaffirms that this decision, as well as the earlier bans on girls from accessing secondary education, violate fundamental human rights, contravene the teachings of Islam, and must be swiftly reversed.

The UAE will remain steadfast in its longstanding support for and commitment to Afghanistan’s sovereignty, stability, security, and prosperity, in cooperation with regional and international partners.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – United Arab Emirates

Press Release Regarding the ban on Higher Education for Girls in Afghanistan

We are saddened and concerned about the ban imposed also on higher education
for girls in Afghanistan.

Education is a fundamental human right which all individuals must enjoy and not be deprived of, on the basis of equal opportunity and in a non-discriminatory manner.

It is essential for the prosperity and future of the country that all girls are entitled to education without any exception in Afghanistan in line with the expectation of
its people.

In this regard, we state our expectation for the decision to be revised and necessary
steps to be taken as soon as possible.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Republic of Turkiye

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s surprise and regret at the decision of the #Afghan caretaker Government to deny Afghan girls the right to university education, and calls on it to reverse this decision, which is shocking to all Islamic countries and is contrary to giving Afghan women their full legitimate rights, foremost of which is the right to education, which contributes to supporting security, stability, development and prosperity for Afghanistan.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Saudi Arabia

Malala, others condemn ban

Banning the education of girls 16+ is a clear violation of human rights, but it can also doom the economic future of Afghanistan, relegating half of its people to a life of poverty and ignorance.

Dr. Abdel Aziz Hamad Aluwaisheg (Assistant Secretary-General, Gulf Co-operation Council)

The Gulf Co-operation Council – GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Taliban administration took a decision banning female students from entering universities in Afghanistan.

A decision against the spirit of Islam.

This prohibition has no place in religion.

Ibrahim Kalin (Turkiye’s Presidential Spokesperson)

The Taliban may lock all the classrooms and university gates in the country — but they can never lock up women’s minds. They cannot stop girls from seeking knowledge. They cannot kill the quest to learn.

Malala

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