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Women’s College Education Banned In Afghanistan By Taliban Law

The Taliban government issued a ban on Tuesday that prohibits women in Afghanistan from attending universities until further notice, according to the Ministry of Higher Education, leaving many women disheartened.


Women were protesting in the capital of Kabul the following day as they witnessed Taliban security forces standing at the gated entrances of universities ushering women away and barging into classrooms demanding that women return home. Taliban officials ended the protests quickly.


“They destroyed the only bridge that could connect me with my future,” one Kabul University student said in an article. “How can I react? I believed that I could study and change my future or bring the light to my life, but they destroyed it.”


The decision was expected with the laws imposed by the Taliban Government that began after they returned to power in Kabul on August 15, 2021. Taliban’s Supreme Leader, Mullah Haibutullah Akhundzada, has influenced the rules in Afghanistan with his idealism on women's rights.


“I genuinely think that the man in charge, that this is what an Islamic society ought to look like,” said Obaidullah Baheer, a professor from Kabul at the American University of Afghanistan and founder of the Let Afghan Girls Learn campaign, in an article published by NPR. “he had this particular view of where women or young girls should be within the society, which is within their households. So I guess this is gender apartheid. This is nothing short of that."


Women in Afghanistan have experienced changes in their educational rights. They went from being required to attend universities with gender-segregated entrances and classrooms to being banned from secondary school. The banning of women from universities has only furthered the chances of women being able to pursue their career goals.


A third-year journalism and communication student at Nangarhar University expressed her distress to Associated Press News (AP) claiming that she can’t fulfill her dreams as everything is disappearing before her eyes, she can’t do anything but watch her dreams now be destroyed.


“Is being a girl a crime? If that’s the case, I wish I wasn’t a girl,” she added.


Akhundzada has also enacted laws where women must cover themselves entirely in public and stay home. Women are banned from inter-city travel without a male escort and can no longer enter parks, fun fairs, gyms, and public baths as of November 2022. Women have also been beaten by Taliban soldiers when protesting and flogged in public for various offenses.


According to a publicized timeline, the Taliban has “backtracked on their promise to guarantee the rights of girls to be educated and given other freedoms, returning to their previous policies when they were last in power.”


The news of the ban has been met with widespread dismay by world leaders and prominent Afghanistan figures who want the Taliban to reconsider their decision.


“The current problem of women’s education and work in the country is very serious, sad, and the most obvious and cruel example of gender apartheid in the 21st century,” Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in an article. “I have said repeatedly that if one girl becomes literate, she changes five future generations, and if one girl remains illiterate, she destroys five future generations.”


According to the UN mission in Afghanistan, preventing women from being contributors to society will cause great devastation within the country as the rights of women and the benefits Afghan society will receive from women will be denied.


The events that have transpired are considered very troubling, according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who is unsure of how the country will move forward after making a decision that revokes the remaining rights that women had.


“It’s another broken promise from the Taliban,” Dujarric said in an article. “It’s another very troubling move and it’s difficult to imagine how a country can develop and deal with all of the challenges it has without the active participation of women and their education.”

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