Taliban Closes Afghan Universities To Women
Afghan female students take entrance exams at Kabul University in Kabul on October 13, 2022.
(Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The Taliban banned all women from universities in Afghanistan, the county’s Education Ministry said Tuesday.

A letter, shared on Twitter by a spokesman for the ministry, made the announcement after a meeting of the Taliban government, according to the Associated Press.

“You are all informed to immediately implement the mentioned order of suspending education of females under further notice,” said the letter to government and private universities, per DW News.

The Taliban already effectively banned girls from secondary education once the group retook control of Afghanistan last year following the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the country.

Despite this crackdown in classrooms, Afghan girls were able to take high school graduation exams earlier this month, the Associated Press reported.

The move on Tuesday further realizes the fears of those who warned about the collapse of women’s rights when the U.S. military left Afghanistan in late August 2021 after nearly 20 years of conflict.

“So after almost 17 months of banning teenage girls from school. The Taliban decide to BAN women from universities too. Afghanistan is the ONLY country in the world that bans women and girls from going to school & university. This is a crime against humanity & it must not stand,” tweeted Shabnam Nasimi, former adviser to the minister for Afghan resettlement and minister for refugees.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators raised concerns in March after the Taliban reneged on a pledge to allow Afghan girls back to school for sixth grade and above.

“The Taliban’s decision to continue to deny girls access to secondary education confirms what we warned was a goal of the Taliban’s all along: the unraveling of education and other hard-won rights for Afghan women and girls,” said a statement from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), and others. “Banning girls from going to school beyond Grade 6 is part of the Taliban’s broader assault on women’s education, rights and freedoms in Afghanistan – all of which come amid a devastating humanitarian crisis that’s hitting women and children the hardest.”

Nearly one year ago, the State Department announced the appointment of two officials to lead an effort seeking to improve conditions for Afghan girls and women. At the time, NBC News reported that international relief agencies were pressuring the Biden administration to give in to Taliban demands to unfreeze more than $9 billion in assets controlled by the United States.

President Joe Biden signed an order in February that would split $7 billion in assets for humanitarian aid for Afghanistan as well as a fund for victims of the 9-11 attacks. The order “is designed to provide a path for the funds to reach the people of Afghanistan, while keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban and malicious actors,” the White House said at the time.

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