The Taliban have banned women from universities in Afghanistan, sparking international condemnation and despair among young people in the country.
Ahmed Zia Hashemi, spokesman for the Higher Education Ministry, confirmed to Radio Azadi that the process of women leaving the dormitories had begun.
In a text message to Radio Azadi, he wrote: "Universities are closed, so what are [women] doing in the dormitories?"
A number of female students in Kabul and Nangarhar told Radio Azadi that the Taliban told them that their universities were closed and they should go home.
Higher Education Minister Nida Mohammad Nadim said on December 22 that the ban was necessary to prevent the mixing of genders at universities and because he believes some subjects being taught violated the principles of Islam.
He also said female students had ignored Islamic instructions, including on what to wear, and had failed to be accompanied by a male relative when traveling.
He also added that the ban would be in place until further notice.
In the capital, about two dozen women marched in the streets, chanting for freedom and equality. “All or none. Don’t be afraid. We are together,” they chanted.
In video obtained by The Associated Press, one woman said Taliban security forces used violence to disperse the group.
“The girls were beaten and whipped,” she said. “They also brought military women with them, whipping the girls. We ran away, some girls were arrested. I don’t know what will happen.”
In a sign of stricter enforcement of restrictions on teenage girls’ education, a letter from the education ministry on Thursday instructed all educational institutions not to allow girls above grade 6 to access their facilities.
Though high schools in most provinces have been closed, some have remained open and many tutoring centres and language classes have been open to girls. Nadeem said religious education remained open to female students.
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