Washington DC, 21 December 2022 (TDI): The United States’ (US) State Department Spokesperson Ned Price held a news briefing on Tuesday. He condemned the Taliban’s decision to close universities for female students in Afghanistan.
.@StateDeptSpox: The U.S. condemns the Taliban’s indefensible decision to ban women from universities, keep secondary schools closed to girls, and continue to impose other restrictions on the ability of women and girls in Afghanistan to exercise their human rights. pic.twitter.com/IGkjxl59lT
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 20, 2022
The Spokesperson stated, “This unacceptable stance will have significant consequences for the Taliban and will further alienate the Taliban from the international community.”
Notably, the Taliban announcement came at a time when the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) met in New York to discuss Afghanistan. Robert Wood, the US deputy Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) also condemned the closure.
In this vein, he noted, “The Taliban cannot expect to be a legitimate member of the international community until they respect the rights of all Afghans. They should especially uphold the human rights and fundamental freedom of women and girls.”
Taliban ban women from universities
The Taliban announced that university classes for women will be suspended until further notice, thus limiting women’s access to formal education. The decision was made following a meeting of the Taliban government.
Hafiz Zeiya, a Spokesman for the Education Ministry of Afghanistan shared the letter issued to all government and private universities. It informed that girls and women can’t get an education after 6th grade.
مهمه خبرتيا!! pic.twitter.com/9EwiUOkipN
— حافظ ضياءالله هاشمي (@HafizZeiya) December 20, 2022
“You are all informed to immediately implement the mentioned order of suspending the education of females until further notice.” The statement of the letter said.
The restriction on higher education comes just three months after thousands of women across the country completed university entrance tests.
Ban on Secondary Schools
Since the Taliban swept back into power in August 2021, they shut down girls’ secondary schools across the country. International pressure on the Taliban to allow girls to attend school has also been ineffective.
That’s the estimated number of girls in Afghanistan who are not allowed to complete their secondary education.
— UNICEF South Asia (@UNICEFROSA) September 9, 2022
The Taliban stated that they were working on a plan for secondary education for girls, but provided no time range. While students protested the closure, their fight to return to school has so far been fruitless.
It is pertinent to note that during their first term in office, from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban forbade women from attending school or working. However, during the 20 years that followed, girls were permitted to attend school and work.