Taliban Says Women Are Banned From Universities In Afghanistan

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The Taliban have announced the closure of universities for women in Afghanistan, according to the letter by the higher education minister.

The minister says the move is until further notice. It is expected to take effect immediately.

It further restricts women’s access to formal education, as they were already excluded from most secondary schools.

Three months ago, thousands of girls and women sat university entrance exams across Afghanistan.

But sweeping restrictions were imposed on the subjects they could study, with veterinary science, engineering, economics, and agriculture off-limits and journalism severely restricted.

After the Taliban takeover last year, universities introduced gender-segregated classrooms and entrances.

Women professors or old men could only teach female students.

Responding to the latest ban, one female university student told the BBC she thought the Taliban were scared of women and their power.

“They destroyed the only bridge connecting me with my future,” she said.

“How can I react? I believe that I could study and change my future or bring the light to my life, but they destroyed it.”

Afghanistan’s education sector was badly affected after the Taliban takeover, and there has been an exodus of trained academics after the withdrawal of US-led forces last year.

The country’s economy has largely depended on foreign aid in recent decades. Still, aid agencies have partly – and in some cases fully – withdrawn support to the education sector after the Taliban refused to allow girls into secondary schools.

Many of the teaching staff who remain go unpaid for months.

The latest measures are likely to cause further concerns in the international community.

The US and other Western countries have improved female education in Afghanistan, a prior condition for the formal recognition of the Taliban government.

In November, the authorities banned women from parks in the capital Kabul, claiming Islamic laws were not being followed there.