Female university students in Afghanistan were turned away on Wednesday after the Taliban administration said women would be suspended from tertiary education.
The decision to exclude women was announced Tuesday night in a letter to universities from the Ministry of Higher Education, drawing condemnation from foreign governments and the United Nations.
The UN mission in Afghanistan called on the Taliban administration to “immediately” reverse the decision.
Students and witnesses said that the presence of security forces outside the universities was higher than usual and that the Taliban armed forces told the students to leave, even if they were going to carry out administrative tasks.
“We went to the university, the Taliban were at the gate and they told us: ‘You are not allowed to enter the university until further notice’…everyone was crying,” said Shaista, a business administration student at a private university in Kabul. .
According to the announcement, the decision was made by the cabinet of the Taliban administration.
Several Taliban officials, including the deputy foreign minister and administration spokesman, have spoken out in favor of female education in recent months.
The Taliban’s supreme spiritual leader, based in the southern city of Kandahar, has the final say on major decisions.
Most girls cannot go to school beyond the primary classes. The Taliban administration has said it is working on a plan for girls’ secondary education, but has not given a timetable.
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