The “Taliban” forbids girls from university education in Afghanistan… and Washington “condemns in the strongest terms”

The Taliban government announced on Tuesday that Afghan universities will be banned indefinitely for girls who were originally private of secondary education since the extremist movement came to power.

“I inform you to implement the above order to halt girls’ education until further notice,” said Higher Education Minister Nada Muhammad Nadeem in a letter addressed to all public universities e private of the country.

Ministry spokesman Diaullah al-Hashemi, who posted the message on Twitter, confirmed the decision in a written declaration to the AFP. No actual reasons have been provided to justify the decision.

The universities are currently closed for the winter holidays and are expected to reopen in March.

Higher education ban for girls and women comes less than three months after thousands of them took college entrance exams in the whole country. They aspired to enter in fields such as engineering and medicine.

After returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban pledged to show more flexibility, but soon reverted to their very strict interpretation of sharia law that characterized its rule between 1996 and 2001.

The movement increased the restrictive measures of freedom, especially against women, who were progressively excluded from public life and excluded from secondary schools.

And in a surprise coup on March 23, the movement closed secondary schools hours after they reopened.

A senior official of the movement has revealed that the supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzadeh, personally intervened in this decision.

“We were hoping in progress, but we have been excluded from society,” said student Raha.

Several government officials said human and financial resources are currently insufficient, but educational institutions will reopen after developing an Islamic education program.

Despite the girls’ ban from high school, many of them sat their secondary school exams in Kabul in early December to enter university, according to AFP correspondents.

The education ministry did not release the number of these and the details of the exams, but dozens of women dressed in long black robes were seen leaving an exam-hosting institution in Kabul.

In the period between the two Taliban regimes, girls could go to school and women could find work in all sectors, even as society remained conservative.

After the Taliban took power in August 2021, universities were required to implement new rules for segregation, in particularly among boys and girls, in education classes.

Girls could receive an education, provided the teachers were women or older men.

“The new restrictions on women’s education in Afghanistan are tragic,” said Omar Zakhilwal, finance minister in the previous government.

And he added in a tweet: “This ban is not based on any religious, cultural or logistical basis. It is just a gross violation of women’s right to education and a terrible flaw in our country.”

The international community has made the recognition of the Taliban regime and the provision of humanitarian and financial aid conditional on the commitment of the human rights movement, in particularly with regard to women’s right to education and work.

“Education is a basic human right. Closing the door to women’s education means closing the door to Afghanistan’s future,” senior UN official Ramiz Alekperov tweeted. in Afghanistan.

The United States, in turn, condemned the recent decision of the Taliban and put in guard against countermeasures and further isolation from the rest of the world.

“The Taliban should expect that this decision, which contradicts pledges it has repeatedly and publicly made to its people, will come with tangible costs,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, adding that the United States has condemned the decision “in the strongest terms.”

“They stole our hope and buried our dreams,” said the student, Medina, who declined to reveal her real name.

For its part, the United States on Tuesday denounced the Taliban’s ban on college education for women and warned of countermeasures and further isolation from the rest of the world.

“The Taliban should expect that this decision, which contradicts pledges it has repeatedly and publicly made to its people, will come with tangible costs,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, adding that the United States has condemned the decision “in the strongest terms.”