Effective Dec. 20, the Taliban’s education minister announced that women were banned from attending universities in Afghanistan. Global human rights groups are calling this the “latest assault on women’s freedoms” since the Taliban regained control last year.
Some women took to the street in Kabul to protest the ban, but the small demonstrations were quickly broken up by Taliban officials.
“Today we come out on the streets of Kabul to raise our voices against the closure of the girls’ universities,” protesters from the Afghanistan Women’s Unity and Solidarity group said.
While girls were already excluded from secondary schools since the Taliban takeover in 2021, Afghan women said this ban “further restricts women’s education,” the BBC reported.
“They destroyed the only bridge that could connect me with my future,” one Kabul University student said. “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.”
This ban “takes Afghanistan back to the Taliban’s first period of rule when girls could not receive formal education,” BBC reported, and was condemned by the United Nations and several countries.
“The Taliban cannot expect to be a legitimate member of the international community until they respect the rights of all in Afghanistan,” United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “No country can thrive when half of its population is held back.”
The Taliban banned women from parks, gyms, cafes, and public baths in the capital in November and also banned them from most forms of employment, according to Causes.com.
“…[D]eepens the erasure of women from Afghan society,” the UN’s Special Rapporteur to Afghanistan said.