The US and UN condemned Afghanistan’s Taliban for banning women’s university study.
Despite promising a softer rule when they took control last year, the Taliban have increased restrictions on all aspects of women’s lives, ignoring international protests.
In a letter to all government and private universities, Minister for Higher Education Neda Mohammad Nadeem ordered them to immediately cease female education until further notice.
Ziaullah Hashimi, the ministry spokesman who tweeted the document, confirmed the directive to AFP by text.
Washington “strongly” opposed the move.
“The Taliban cannot join the world community unless they respect Afghans’ rights. This decision affects the Taliban “Secretary Antony Blinken stated.
“No nation can prosper with half its citizens repressed.
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The prohibition “seriously disturbed” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, his spokesperson said Tuesday.
“The secretary-general reiterates that the denial of education not only breaches the equal rights of women and girls but would have a terrible impact on the country’s future,” Stephane Dujarric stated.
The restriction on higher education comes less than three months after thousands of girls and women took university entrance tests nationwide, many hoping to become teachers and doctors.
University winter vacation ends in March.
After the Taliban took over, universities had to implement gender-segregated classrooms and entrances, and women could only be taught by women or old men.
Most teenage girls nationwide are barred from secondary school, limiting university enrollment.
Journalism student Madina struggled to comprehend Tuesday’s order.
“No comment. My pals and I cannot articulate our sentiments “Kabul’s 18-year-old said AFP.
“Everyone is contemplating the future. Dreams were buried.”
The country was returning to “dark days,” said medicine student Rhea in the capital, who requested a name change.
“They are removing us from society,” the 26-year-old claimed.
The Taliban’s supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada and his inner circle of Afghan clerics oppose modern education, especially for females and women.
They disagree with Kabul leadership and their rank and file, who wanted girls to continue school after the takeover.
“The recent decision would aggravate these disparities,” a northwest Pakistani Taliban commander told AFP.
The Taliban cruelly prevented girls from returning to secondary schools in March.
Several Taliban officials have said the secondary education restriction is temporary, but they have given a variety of reasons for it, from a shortage of funding to the time needed to rewrite the curriculum.
Since the ban, many young girls have been married off early to older father-selected males.
Last month, some families told AFP that the school restriction and economic pressure made marrying their daughters better than keeping them at home.
International pressure has forced women out of government employment or paid less to stay home. They must wear a burqa and travel with a male relative.
Parks, funfairs, gyms, and public baths were banned in November.
The international community has negotiated funding and recognition of the Taliban rule around women’s education rights.
“The international community has not and will not forget Afghan women and girls,” the UN Security Council warned in September.
Pakistan, Afghanistan’s neighbor, indicated Tuesday that cooperation with the Taliban was still desirable.
“I’m saddened by today’s decision,” Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said in Washington.
Despite difficulties in women’s education and other areas, he stated, “I still think the easiest road to our goal is through Kabul and through the interim administration.”
Though socially restrictive, girls were allowed to attend school and work in all areas in the 20 years between the Taliban’s two regimes.
In recent weeks, the authorities have resumed public floggings and killings of men and women under a harsh interpretation of Islamic sharia law.