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Taliban detained women protesting against the university ban

Taliban detained women protesting against the university ban
The Taliban detained five women who were protesting the ban on women attending universities in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital.

Three journalists have also been detained. Protests are also believed to have occurred in Takhar province.

Hundreds of women were barred from entering universities on Wednesday, a day after the ban was announced.

It is the most recent policy limiting women’s education since the Taliban retook power last year.

Girls are already barred from attending most secondary schools.

The new ban went into effect on Tuesday, with the higher education minister ordering that women be barred from attending public and private universities.

According to the education ministry, its scholars evaluated the university curriculum and environment, and girls’ attendance would be suspended until “a suitable environment” was provided.

Later, the Taliban minister of higher education, Neda Mohammad Nadeem, stated on state television that women were barred from attending university because they did not adhere to the dress code.

“They dressed as if they were going to a wedding.”

On Thursday, footage circulated on social media of about two dozen Afghan women wearing hijabs marching through the streets of Kabul, raising banners and shouting slogans.

The group had planned to gather in front of Kabul University, the country’s largest and most prestigious educational institution, but had to change their plans after authorities stationed a large number of security personnel there.

Several women who took part in the protest told the BBC that female Taliban officers beat or arrested them.

One of the protesters told the BBC that she was “badly beaten” but managed to avoid arrest.

“There were too many Taliban female members among us,” the woman, who requested anonymity, said.

“Some of our girls were beaten, and others were arrested. They were about to take me as well, but I escaped. But I was severely beaten.”

Another protester stated that two people had been released since their arrest, but that several others remained in custody.

In solidarity with the protesters, some men have engaged in acts of civil disobedience. Approximately 50 male university professors at public and private institutions have resigned, and some male students have reportedly refused to take their exams.

After seizing power in August 2021, following the US withdrawal from the country, the Taliban promised a softer rule. However, the country’s hardline Islamists have continued to erode women’s rights and freedoms.

Since their return, women-led protests have become increasingly rare in Afghanistan. Participants face arrest, violence, and social stigma for participating.

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, universities had already been operating under anti-women policies.

Gender-segregated entrances and classrooms existed, and female students could only be taught by female professors or elderly men. They could also only apply for a limited number of subjects.

Women were barred from studying engineering, economics, veterinary science, and agriculture, and journalists faced severe restrictions.

According to Unesco, the rate of female higher education enrollment increased 20 times between 2001 – the year the Taliban were ousted by US intervention – and 2018.


Source: BBC News

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