The Taliban government has suspended university education for all female students in Afghanistan, the latest in its brutal crackdown on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women.
A spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education confirmed the ban to CNN on Tuesday. According to a letter published by the Ministry of Education, the decision was made in a council meeting and the order will be effective immediately.
Girls were prevented from returning to secondary schools in March, after the Taliban ordered girls’ schools to close just hours after they reopened after months of closure. after the Taliban take over in August 2021.
Human Rights Watch condemned the ban on Sunday, calling it a “shameful decision that violates the right to education for women and girls in Afghanistan.”
“The Taliban make it clear every day that they do not respect the basic rights of Afghans, especially women,” the rights watchdog said in a statement.
The U.S. condemns “the Taliban’s decision to ban women from universities,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a briefing Tuesday.
The recent decision of the Taliban, he said, “will be of great benefit to the Taliban, the Taliban will be isolated from the international community, denying them the right to what they want.”
The March closure of high schools for girls had a “significant impact” on the US’s engagement with Taliban leaders, Price said.
“With the implementation of this law, half of the Afghan population will not be able to access education beyond primary school,” he said.
US Ambassador Robert Wood, the foreign representative for special political affairs, also spoke before those accusations, telling the Security Council of the United Nations that “Taliban cannot to be full members of the international community and to respect the rights of all Afghans, especially the human rights and dignity of women and girls.”
The Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when the US-led group was ousted from power, treated women as second-class citizens and subjected them to violence, intermarriage and non-violence in the land. .
After seizing power in Afghanistan last year, the Taliban tried to create a better image to gain international support.
But despite many promises to the international community that it will protect the rights of women and girls, the Taliban is doing the opposite, trying to suppress their rights and freedoms.
Afghan women cannot work in most areas, must hire a male bodyguard for long-distance travel, and are ordered to cover their faces in public.
They have also imposed restrictions on girls’ education, barring women from certain jobs as they take away the rights they have fought for over the past two decades.
In November, Afghan women were barred from entering amusement parks in Kabul when the government announced a ban on women’s access to public parks, said said Reuters.