WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Afghan women are no longer allowed to pursue higher education, according to a new decree from the Taliban government.
- The country’s Ministry of Higher Education shared the decree on Tuesday.
- Several protesters, as well as members of the United Nations, denounced the move as an infringement of human rights.
The Taliban has recently reinstated a mandate barring Afghan women from pursuing higher education in the nation. Women were no longer allowed to attend private or public universities.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Higher Education shared the decree with several news organizations on Tuesday. The letter stated that the Taliban has instructed the nation’s schools to ban women from attending classes until further notice.
Several months before, the Taliban, which seized power last year, announced that girls in the country would no longer be allowed to attend school beyond the sixth grade.
The decision was denounced by members of the United Nations, including U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and deputy U.S. ambassador Robert Wood.
The Associated Press cited Guterres stating, “It’s difficult to imagine how a country can develop, can deal with all of the challenges that it has, without the active participation of women and the education.”
When the Taliban ruled from 1996 to 2001, women and young girls were banned from seeking education.
The U.S. ousted the Taliban in 2001, bringing about many changes for Afghan girls and women. They were finally given access to education and were no longer required to wear full-length burqas.
The militants took back control over the nation when the U.S. troops withdrew in August 2021. This prompted several residents to flee or hide. Many feared that their way of life would be drastically changed.
Taliban officials did not immediately list their new policies during their first weeks at the helm.
The Taliban’s minister for higher education said last fall that Afghan women can still continue studying at universities with some conditions. A mandate was issued on Islamic dress and classrooms were gender-segregated.
But the government ultimately reversed the previous declaration and reinstated the ban on women’s higher education.