Afghanistan’s Taliban government has banned all female students in the country from accessing university education in both public and private universities.
The indefinite ban was the latest Taliban clampdown on the rights and freedom of Afghan women, according to CNN.
The order given on Tuesday was with immediate effect as a decision reached in a cabinet meeting.
Afghanistan’s Minister for Higher Education, Neda Mohammed Nadeem signed the statement which put the university education of Afghan women to a halt.
“You all are informed to implement the mentioned order of suspending education of females until further notice,” said Nadeem.
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Girls were already barred from returning to secondary schools in March after the Taliban ordered the closure of schools for girls.
The fresh suspension on female university education has been greeted with backlash as the Human Rights Watch said, “(it’s a) shameful decision that violates the right to education for women and girls in Afghanistan.”
“The Taliban are making it clear every day that they don’t respect the fundamental rights of Afghans, especially women,” the rights watchdog added.
Also, the United States condemned it in a statement by a State Department spokesperson calling it, “the Taliban’s indefensible decision to ban women from universities.”
He added that the decision will “have significant consequences for the Taliban and will further alienate the Taliban from the international community and deny them the legitimacy they desire.”
A 52-year-old Afghan lecturer who used Meena as a pseudonym also condemned the ban placed on female university education.
Meena said, “My female students are distraught and I don’t know how to console them. One of them moved to Kabul from a remote province, overcoming so many hardships, because she got into a prestigious university here. All her hopes and dreams were crushed today.”
“I lost many years of my education last time they were in power. And the day the Taliban took over Kabul, I knew that they would ban the girls from university.
“They may seem like a changed group with their smartphones, social media accounts and nice cars, but they are the same Taliban that denied me the education and are now killing the future of my students