KABUL – In an effort to further restrict women’s access to higher education and freedom, Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders on Tuesday outlawed university education for women nationally.
The infamous Taliban increased restrictions on all aspects of women’s lives despite promising a softer rule when they gained control last year and disregarded international protests.
In a letter sent to all public and private universities, signed by Higher Education minister Neda Mohammad Nadeem, it was stated that “you all are informed to promptly implement the indicated order of halting education of females till further notice.”
The restriction on higher education comes less than three months after thousands of girls and women nationwide took university entrance tests, with many of them hoping to pursue professions in teaching and medicine.
The universities will reopen in March while they are currently on winter break.
Following the Taliban’s takeover of the nation, universities were compelled to enact new regulations, such as gender-segregated classrooms and entrances, and women were only allowed to be taught by women academics or elderly men.
The majority of adolescent girls in the country are already prohibited from attending secondary schools, significantly restricting their access to higher education.
In the meantime, Washington criticized the choice “in the strongest terms.”
“Until they respect the rights of everyone in Afghanistan, the Taliban cannot hope to be a respected part of the international community. There will be repercussions from this choice for the Taliban,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement.
“No country can prosper if half of its people are denied opportunities.”