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Taliban bans women from universities in Afghanistan

The Taliban announced that female students in Afghanistan have been expelled from all universities immediately.

A spokesperson for the higher education ministry confirmed that a letter instructed Afghan private universities to stop accessing female students until further notice, in accordance to a cabinet decision.

Both the United States and Britain condemned the announcement. They are likely to raise concerns with the international community, who has not officially recognized the de facto administration.

The US government stated that it needs to change its policies regarding women’s education before it can officially recognize the Taliban-run administration. This is also subject of heavy sanctions.

Image Female Students at American University of Afghanistan

After making a U-turn regarding the opening of all middle schools and high schools for girls, the Taliban received criticism in March.

Barbara Woodward, Britain’s UN ambassador, stated that the latest suspension was an “other egregious curtailment women’s rights, and a deep, profound disappointment for all female students”.

She stated to the council that it was “another step by Taliban away from Afghanistan being self-reliant and prosperous.”

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The confirmation of university restrictions was made the same night that Roza Otunbayeva (UN secretary-general’s special representative to Afghanistan), said that the closing of schools had “undermined the Taliban administration’s relations with the international community.”

She spoke at a UN Security Council session about Afghanistan and said that “as long as girls are excluded from school, and the de facto authorities continue not to address other concerns of the international community,” we will remain in an impasse.

Many students will also be taking the end-of-term exams. A mother who requested anonymity for security reasons said that she could not describe the pain that her and other mothers feel.

“We all feel this pain and are concerned for the future of our children.”

She claimed that her daughter received the letter from her and called her in, now fearing she might not be able to continue her medical studies in Kabul.

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Sky’s Alex Crawford talks to girls and women in Afghanistan about education – and gives him access to secret schools that still teach girls.

Robert Wood, the US Deputy UN Ambassador, stated that the Taliban can’t expect to be considered a legitimate member the international community unless they respect all Afghans’ rights, particularly the fundamental freedoms of women and girls.

Special correspondent Alex Crawford, Sky News’s beginning of December documentary, examined the struggle for women’s rights under one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.

Women at War in Afghanistan has been in contact with the informal networks formed by women’s resistance groups, who are struggling to protect their basic human rights and freedoms.


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