Kabul: The Taliban authorities ordered a nationwide ban on university education for females, as the hardline Islamists continue to crush Afghan women’s right to education and freedom.
Despite promising a softer rule when they seized power last year, the Taliban have ratcheted up restrictions on all aspects of women’s lives, ignoring international outrage.
“You all are informed to immediately implement the mentioned order of suspending education of females until further notice,” said a letter issued to all government and private universities, signed by the Minister for Higher Education, Neda Mohammad Nadeem.
The ban on higher education comes less than three months after thousands of girls and women sat university entrance exams across the country, with many aspiring to choose teaching and medicine as future careers.
After the takeover of the country by the Taliban, universities were forced to implement new rules including gender segregated classrooms and entrances, while women were only permitted to be taught by women professors or old men.
Women have been pushed out of many government jobs — or are being paid a slashed salary to stay at home. They are also barred from travelling without a male relative, and must cover up outside of the home, ideally with a burqa. Since the ban, many teenage girls have been married off early — often to much older men of their father’s choice.